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Rh port 

OF THE 

Independent 

Commission 

on run 

Los Angei.es 

Police 

Department 



Copyright© 1991 
By 

Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department 
All Rights Rose r\ eel 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Table Of Contents XAT~ 

copy 

Letter of Transmittal 
Commission and Staff 

Foreword (i) 

Summary of Report (vii) 

Chapter 1. The Rodney King Beating and 

the Questions It Has Raised 1 

Chapter 2. Los Angeles and Its Police Department 19 

Chapter 3. The Problem of Excessive Force in the LAPD 29 

Chapter 4. Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of 

Excessive Force 67 

Chapter 5. LAPD Culture, Community Relations, 

and "Community Policing" 95 

Chapter 6. Recruitment, Selection and 

Psychological Testing 107 

Chapter 7, Training 119 

Chapter 8. Promotion, Assignment and Other Personnel Issues 137 

Chapter 9. Complaints and Discipline 151 

Chapter 10. Structural Issues -- The Police Commission 

and the Chief of Police 181 



Chapter 11. Implementation 225 



Appendix I Mayor's Charge to the Independent Commission on the 
Los Angeles Police Department 

Joint Statement of Warren Christopher 
and Justice John Arguelles -- April 4, 1991 

The Ten-Point Plan Announced by Chief of Police 
Daryl Gates 

Appendix II Commission and Staff Activities 



Table of Contents 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Foreword 



The Rodney King beating stands as a landmark in the recent history of taw 
enforcement, comparable to the Scottsboro case in 1931 and the Serpico case 
in 1967. Rightly called "sickening" by President Bush, and condemned by ail 
segments of society, the King incident provides an opportunity for evaluation 
and reform of police procedures. Many saw the incident as particularly tragic 
because it happened in Los Angeles, whose police officers are among the most 
efficient and innovative in the nation. 

Police violence is not a local problem. Recognizing its national character, 
police chiefs from 10 major cities convened soon after the King incident and 
emphasized that "the problem of excessive force in American policing is real." 
The same theme was stressed by Hubert Williams, President of the Police 
Foundation and former Chief of Police for Newark, New Jersey: "Police use of 
excessive force is a significant problem in this country, particularly in our inner 
cities." With the Knapp Commission on police corruption as a precedent, the 
most fundamental challenge for the Independent Commission is to recommend 



Foreword (i) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



reforms that will help insure that such an incident is not repeated in Los 
Angeles or elsewhere in the nation. 

Our Commission owes its existence to the George Holliday videotape of 
the Rodney King incident. Whether there even would have been a Los Angeles 
Police Department investigation without the video is doubtful, since the efforts 
of King's brother, Paul, to file a complaint were frustrated, and the report of the 
involved officers was falsified. Even if there had been an investigation, our 
case-by-case review of the handling of over 700 complaints indicates that 
without the Holliday videotape the complaint might have been adjudged to be 
"not sustained," because the officers* version conflicted with the account by 
King and his two passengers, who typically would have been viewed as not 
"independent." 

In the wake of the King incident and the public outcry, the Independent 
Commission was created by Mayor Tom Bradley on April 1, 1991, and soon 
merged with the Commission created by Los Angeles Chief of Police Daryl 
Gates. (See Appendix I for foundational documents.) Our efforts were 
endorsed by City Council President John Ferraro, District Attorney Ira Reiner, 
City Attorney James Hahn, and many other public officials. 

Our Report concentrates on excessive force under color of law. We have 
sought to examine any aspect of the law enforcement structure in Los Angeles 
that might cause or contribute to the problem of excessive force, and this has 
led us to consider almost every aspect of the LAPD. We have tried, however, to 
avoid being drawn into issues that are only peripheral to our central inquiry. 

Our Commission has conducted an unprecedented inquiry into the use of 
excessive force by a police department. More than 50 expert witnesses have 
been heard in 26 executive sessions. More than 150 representatives of 
community organizations and private citizens have been heard in five public 
hearings held by the full Commission in different sections of the City. Members 
of the Commission have taken many individual initiatives ranging from night 
time "ride-alongs" in patrol cars to meetings with groups of ministers and 
priests. More than 500 current and retired Los Angeles police officers have 
been interviewed. A staff of more than 80 lawyers, supported by three 
accounting and data analysis firms, has been at work for 100 days and many 
nights. 



(ii) Foreword 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Our work has been informed by nine major computer-aided studies of 
documents and statistics that yield their own truths independent of after-the-fact 
opinions or reconstruction. For example, we have conducted computerized 
studies of the Department's use of force reports from 1987 to 1991 and of all 
complaints filed by members of the public between 1986 and 1990. Our staff 
has reviewed the Mobile Digital Terminal communications (MDTs) of the 
Department's patrol cars for six sample months drawn from a 16 month period. 
We have examined with special care the files in the 83 civil damage cases 
involving excessive force claims that were settled by the City Attorney, with the 
approval of the City Council, for more than $15,000. In all, more than one 
million pages of documents have been reviewed. 

Police work is dangerous. A routine arrest may suddenly turn into a violent 
confrontation, sometimes triggered by drugs, alcohol, or mental illness. 
Neighborhood gangs often directly challenge an officer's authority. To cope, 
police officers are given the unique right to use force, even deadly force, 
against others. The right to use force carries with it a heavy responsibility not to 
abuse it. The principal purpose of this Report is to present the results of our 
efforts to understand why and how often this authority has been abused, and to 
offer some down-to-earth recommendations for avoiding a repetition of 
incidents like that involving Rodney King. 

This is a blunt report. We have received impressive cooperation from the 
LAPD as well as other agencies in the Los Angeles and national law 
enforcement communities. We seek to respond to this cooperation by being 
plainspoken. 

The Commission found that there is a significant number of officers in the 
LAPD who repetitively use excessive force against the public and persistently 
ignore the written guidelines of the Department regarding force. This finding is 
documented and confirmed, from several perspectives, by the detailed 
analyses of documents and statistics performed by the Commission. Our 
computerized study of the complaints filed in recent years shows a strong 
concentration of allegations against a probfem group of officers. A comparable 
study of the use of force reports reveals a similar concentration. Graphic 
confirmation of improper attitudes and practices is provided by the brazen and 
extensive references to beatings and other excessive uses of force in the MDTs. 



Foreword (ill) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



The Commission also found that the problem of excessive force is aggravated 
by racism and bias, again strikingly revealed in the MDTs. 

The failure to control these officers is a management issue that is at the 
heart of the problem. The documents and data that we have analyzed have ail 
been available to the Department; indeed, most of this information came from 
that source. The LAPD's failure to analyze and act upon these revealing data 
evidences a significant breakdown in the management and leadership of the 
Department The Police Commission, lacking investigators or other resources, 
failed in its duty to monitor the Department in this sensitive use of force area. 
The Department not only failed to deal with the problem group of officers but it 
often rewarded them with positive evaluations and promotions. 

Our findings drive our principal recommendations. We urge that the 
leadership of the LAPD go beyond rhetoric in carrying out its existing policies 
against excessive force. From the Chief of Police on down to the sergeants, 
this means taking a firm stand against the "bad guys" on the force and 
employing all the instruments available - training, discipline, assignments, and 
promotion. It also means monitoring and auditing all available data - patrol car 
transmissions, use of force reports, and citizen complaints - and then acting on 
the data. We urge a comparable effort to monitor and root out the 
manifestations of racism and bias. 

We recommend a new standard of accountability. Los Angeles should 
have a Police Department whose Chief is accountable to civilian officials for the 
Department's performance, and where ranking officers are responsible for the 
conduct of those they lead. The Police Commission needs new personnel, 
more resources, and an enhanced commitment to carrying out its duties under 
the Charter. Ugly incidents will not diminish until ranking officers know they will 
be held responsible for what happens in their sector, whether or not they 
personally participate. 

It will be said, and rightly so, that this Report does not devote enough 
attention to the good work done by the men and women of the LAPD. We have 
tried to recognize the enormous contribution to public safety made by police 
officers. Certainly we do not wish to cast a shadow on the multitude of police 
officers who perform their arduous duties in exemplary fashion. Our principal 
responsibility, however, was to assess the question of excessive force. Having 



(iv) Foreword 



Report of the Independent Commission 



found the problem to be serious, we have been obliged to concentrate on 
causes and cures. 

It will also be said that excessive use of force by police officers is only a 
reflection of the violence of our society. Television and motion pictures have 
not only excused excessive force but have sometimes portrayed it in positive 
hues. The vast majority of Los Angeles police officers, members of a 
Department with nationally recognized strengths, aspire to a higher standard 
and deserve a nobler image. We hope this Report will help achieve both. 



Foreword (v) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



(vi) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Summary of Report 



The videotaped beating of Rodney G. King by three uniformed officers of the 
Los Angeles Police Department, in the presence of a sergeant and with a large 
group of other officers standing by, galvanized public demand for evaluation 
and reform of police procedures involving the use of force. In the wake of the 
incident and the resulting widespread outcry, the Independent Commission on 
the Los Angeles Police Department was created. The Commission sought to 
examine all aspects of the law enforcement structure in Los Angeles that might 
cause or contribute to the problem of excessive force. The Report is 
unanimous. 

The King beating raised fundamental questions about the LAPD, including: 

• the apparent failure to control or discipline 
officers with repeated complaints of excessive 
force 

• concerns about the LAPD's "culture" and 
officers 1 attitudes toward racial and other 
minorities 



Summary of Report (vii) 



Report of the independent Commission 



i 

! 
i 



• the difficulties the public encounters in 
attempting to make complaints against LAPD 
officers 

• the role of the LAPD leadership and civilian 
oversight authorities in addressing or 
contributing to these problems 

These and related questions and concerns form the basis for the Commission's 
work. 

LOS ANGELES AND ITS POLICE FORCE 

The LAPD is headed by Police Chief Daryl Gates with an executive staff 
currently consisting of two assistant chiefs, five deputy chiefs, and 17 
commanders. The City Charter provides that the Department is ultimately 
under the control and oversight of the five-member civilian Board of Police 
Commissioners, The Office of Operations, headed by Assistant Chief Robert 
Vernon, accounts for approximately 84% of the Department's personnel, 
including most patrol officers and detectives. The Office of Operations has 18 
separate geographic areas within the City, divided among four bureaus 
(Central, South, West, and Valley). There are currently about 8,450 sworn 
police officers, augmented by more than 2,000 civilian LAPD employees. 

While the overall rate of violent crime in the United States increased three 
and one-half times between 1960 and 1989, the rate in Los Angeles during the 
same period was more than twice the national average. According to 1986 
data recently published by the Police Foundation, the Los Angeles police were 
the busiest among the officers in the nation's largest six cities. As crime rates 
soar, police officers must contend with more and more potential and actual 
violence each day. One moment officers must confront a life-threatening 
situation; the next they must deal with citizen problems requiring understanding 
and kindness. The difficulties of policing in Los Angeles are compounded by 
its vast geographic area and the ethnic diversity of its population. The 1990 
census data reflect how enormous that diversity is: Latinos constitute 40% of 
the total population; Whites 37%; African-Americans 13%; and Asian/Pacific 
Islanders and others 10%. Of the police departments of the six largest United 
States cities, the LAPD has the fewest officers per resident and the fewest 
officers per square mile, Yet the LAPD boasts more arrests per officer than 



(viii) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



other forces. Moreover, by all accounts, the LAPD is generally efficient, 
sophisticated, and free of corruption. 

THE PROBLEM OF EXCESSIVE FORCE 

LAPD officers exercising physical force must comply with the Department's 
Use of Force Policy and Guidelines, as well as California law. Both the LAPD 
Policy and the Penal Code require that force be reasonable; the Policy also 
requires that force be necessary. An officer may resort to force only where he 
or she faces a credible threat, and then may use only the minimum amount 
necessary to control the suspect. 

The Commission has found that there is a significant number of LAPD 
officers who repetitively misuse force and persistently ignore the written policies 
and guidelines of the Department regarding force. The evidence obtained by 
the Commission shows that this group has received inadequate supervisory 
and management attention. 

Former Assistant Chief Jesse Brewer testified that this lack of management 

attention and accountability is the "essence of the excessive force problem 

We know who the bad guys are. Reputations become well known, especially to 
the sergeants and then of course to lieutenants and the captains in the areas 

.... But I don't see anyone bring these people up " Assistant Chief David 

Dotson testified that "we have failed miserably" to hold supervisors accountable 
for excessive force by officers under their command. Interviews with a large 
number of present and former LAPD officers yield similar conclusions. Senior 
and rank-and-file officers generally stated that a significant number of officers 
tended to use force excessively, that these problem officers were well known in 
their divisions, that the Department's efforts to control or discipline those 
officers were inadequate, and that their supervisors were not held accountable 
for excessive use of force by officers in their command. 

The Commission's extensive computerized analysis of the data provided 
by the Department (personnel complaints, use of force reports, and reports of 
officer-involved shootings) shows that a significant group of problem officers 
poses a much higher risk of excessive force than other officers: 

♦ Of approximately 1,800 officers against whom 
an allegation of excessive force or improper 
tactics was made from 1986 to 1990, more 
than 1,400 had only one or two allegations. 



Summary of Report (ix) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



But 1 83 officers had four or more allegations, 
44 had six or more, 16 had eight or more, 
and one had 16 such allegations. 

• Of nearly 6,000 officers identified as involved 
in use of force reports from January 1987 to 
March 1991, more than 4,000 had fewer than 
five reports each. But 63 officers had 20 or 
more reports each. The top 5% of the officers 
(ranked by number of reports) accounted for 
more than 20% of all reports .... 

Blending the data disclosed even more troubling patterns. For example, in 
the years covered, one officer had 13 allegations of excessive force and 
improper tactics, 5 other complaint allegations, 28 use of force reports, and 1 
shooting. Another had 6 excessive force/improper tactics allegations, 19 other 
complaint allegations, 10 use of force reports, and 3 shootings. A third officer 
had 7 excessive force/improper tactic allegations, 7 other complaint allegations, 
27 use of force reports, and 1 shooting. 

A review of personnel files of the 44 officers identified from the LAPD 
database who had six or more allegations of excessive force or improper 
tactics for the period 1986 through 1990 disclosed that the picture conveyed 
was often incomplete and at odds with contemporaneous comments appearing 
in complaint files. As a general matter, the performance evaluation reports for 
those problem officers were very positive, documenting every complimentary 
comment received and expressing optimism about the officer's progress in the 
Department. The performance evaluations generally did not give an accurate 
picture of the officers' disciplinary history, failing to record "sustained" 
complaints or to discuss their significance, and failing to assess the officer's 
judgment and contacts with the public in light of disturbing patterns of 
complaints. 

The existence of a significant number of officers with an unacceptable and 
improper attitude regarding the use of force is supported by the Commission's 
extensive review of computer messages sent to and from patrol cars 
throughout the City over the units' Mobile Digital Terminals ("MDTs"). The 
Commission's staff examined 182 days of MDT transmissions selected from the 
period from November 1989 to March 1991. Although the vast majority of 
messages reviewed consisted of routine police communications, there were 
hundreds of improper messages, including scores in which officers talked 



(x) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



about beating suspects; "Capture him, beat him and treat him like dirt 
Officers also used the communications system to express their eagerness to be 
involved in shooting incidents. The transmissions also make clear that some 
officers enjoy the excitement of a pursuit and view it as an opportunity for 
violence against a fleeing suspect. 

The patrol car transmissions can be monitored by a field supervisor and 
are stored in a database where they could be (but were not) audited. That 
many officers would feel free to type messages about force under such 
circumstances suggests a serious problem with respect to excessive force. 
That supervisors made no effort to monitor or control those messages 
evidences a significant breakdown in the Department's management 
responsibility. 

The Commission also reviewed the LAPD's investigation and discipline of 
the officers involved in all 83 civil lawsuits alleging excessive or improper force 
by LAPD officers for the period 1986 through 1990 that resulted in a settlement 
or judgment of more than $15,000. A majority of cases involved clear and often 
egregious officer misconduct resulting in serious injury or death to the victim. 
The LAPD's investigation of these 83 cases was deficient in many respects, and 
discipline against the officers involved was frequently light and often 
nonexistent. 

While the precise size and identity of the problem group of officers cannot 
be specified without significant further investigation, its existence must be 
recognized and addressed. The LAPD has a number of tools to promote and 
enforce its policy that only reasonable and necessary force be used by officers. 
There are rewards and incentives such as promotions and pay upgrades. The 
discipline system exists to impose sanctions for misconduct. Officers can be 
reassigned. Supervisors can monitor and counsel officers under their 
command. Officers can be trained at the Police Academy and, more 
importantly, in the field, in the proper use of force. 

The Commission believes that the Department has not made sufficient 
efforts to use those tools effectively to address the significant number of officers 
who appear to be using force excessively and improperly. The leadership of 
the LAPD must send a much clearer and more effective message that excessive 
force will not be tolerated and that officers and their supervisors will be 



Summary of Report (xi) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



evaluated to an important extent by how well they abide by and advance the 
Department's policy regarding use offeree. 

RACISM AND BIAS 

The problem of excessive force is aggravated by racism and bias within 
the LAPD. That nexus is sharply illustrated by the results of a survey recently 
taken by the LAPD of the attitudes of its sworn officers. The survey of 960 
officers found that approximately one-quarter (24.5%) of 650 officers 
responding agreed that "racial bias (prejudice) on the part of officers toward 
minority citizens currently exists and contributes to a negative interaction 
between police and community," More than one-quarter (27.6%) agreed that 
"an officer's prejudice towards the suspect's race may lead to the use of 
excessive force." 

The Commission's review of MDT transmissions revealed an appreciable 
number of disturbing and recurrent racial remarks. Some of the remarks 
describe minorities through animal analogies ("sounds like monkey slapping 
time"). Often made in the context of discussing pursuits or beating suspects, 
the offensive remarks cover the spectrum of racial and ethnic minorities in the 
City ("I would love to drive down Slauson with a flame thrower ... we would 
have a barbecue"; "I almost got me a Mexican last night but he dropped the 
dam gun to quick, lots of wit"). The officers typing the MDT messages 
apparently had little concern that they would be disciplined for making such 
remarks. Supervisors failed to monitor the messages or to impose discipline 
for improper remarks and were themselves frequently the source of offensive 
comments when in the field. 

These attitudes of prejudice and intolerance are translated into 
unacceptable behavior in the field. Testimony from a variety of witnesses 
depict the LAPD as an organization with practices and procedures that are 
conducive to discriminatory treatment and officer misconduct directed to 
members of minority groups. Witnesses repeatedly told of LAPD officers 
verbally harassing minorities, detaining African-American and Latino men who 
fit certain generalized descriptions of suspects, employing unnecessarily 
invasive or humiliating tactics in minority neighborhoods and using excessive 
force. While the Commission does not purport to adjudicate the validity of any 



(xii) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



one of these numerous complaints, the intensity and frequency of them reveal a 
serious problem. 

Bias within the LAPD is not confined to officers 1 treatment of the public, but 
is also reflected in conduct directed to fellow officers who are members of racial 
or ethnic minority groups. The MDT messages and other evidence suggest 
that minority officers are still too frequently subjected to racist slurs and 
comments and to discriminatory treatment within the Department. While the 
relative number of officers who openly make racially derogatory comments or 
treat minority officers in a demeaning manner is small, their attitudes and 
behavior have a large impact because of the failure of supervisors to enforce 
vigorously and consistently the Department's policies against racism. That 
failure conveys to minority and non-minority officers alike the message that 
such conduct is in practice condoned by the Department. 

The LAPD has made substantial progress in hiring minorities and women 
since the 1981 consent decree settling discrimination lawsuits against the 
Department. That effort should continue, including efforts to recruit Asians and 
other minorities who are not covered by the consent decree. The Departments 
statistics show, however, that the vast majority of minority officers are 
concentrated in the entry level police officer ranks in the Department. More 
than 80% of African-American, Latino and Asian officers hold the rank of Police 
Officer MIL Many minority officers cite white dominance of managerial 
positions within the LAPD as one reason for the Department's continued 
tolerance of racially motivated language and behavior. 

Bias within the U\PD is not limited to racist and ethnic prejudices but 
includes strongly felt bias based on gender and sexual orientation. Current 
LAPD policy prohibits all discrimination, including that based on sexual 
orientation. A tension remains, however, between the LAPD's official policy and 
actual practice. The Commission believes that the LAPD must act to implement 
fully its formal policy of nondiscrimination in the recruitment and promotion of 
gay and lesbian officers. 

A 1987 LAPD study concluded that female officers were subjected to a 
double standard and subtle harassment and were not accepted as part of the 
working culture. As revealed in interviews of many of the officers charged with 
training new recruits, the problem has not abated in the last four years. 



Summary of Report (xiii) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Although female LAPD officers are in fact performing effectively, they are having 
a difficult time being accepted on a full and equal basis. 

The Commission heard substantial evidence that female officers utilize a 
style of policing that minimizes the use of excessive force. Data examined by 
the Commission indicate that LAPD female officers are involved in use of 
excessive force at rates substantially below those of male officers. Those 
statistics, as confirmed by both academic studies and anecdotal evidence, also 
indicate that women officers perform at least as well as their male counterparts 
when measured by traditional standards. 

The Commission believes that the Chief of Police must seek tangible ways, 
for example, through the use of the discipline system, to establish the principle 
that racism and bias based on ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation will not 
be tolerated within the Department. Racism and bias cannot be eliminated 
without active leadership from the top, Minority and female officers must be 
given full and equal opportunity to assume leadership positions in the LAPD. 
They must be assigned on a fully nondiscriminatory basis to the more 
desirable, "coveted" positions and promoted on the same nondiscriminatory 
basis to supervisory and managerial positions. 

COMMUNITY POLICING 

The LAPD has an organizational culture that emphasizes crime control over 
crime prevention and that isolates the police from the communities and the 
people they serve. With the full support of many, the LAPD insists on 
aggressive detection of major crimes and a rapid, seven-minute response time 
to calls for service. Patrol officers are evaluated by statistical measures (for 
example, the number of calls handled and arrests made) and are rewarded for 
being "hardnosed." This style of policing produces results, but it does so at the 
risk of creating a siege mentality that alienates the officer from the community. 

Witness after witness testified to unnecessarily aggressive confrontations 
between LAPD officers and citizens, particularly members of minority 
communities. From the statements of these citizens, as well as many present 
and former senior LAPD officers, it is apparent that too many LAPD patrol 
officers view citizens with resentment and hostility; too many treat the public 
with rudeness and disrespect. LAPD officers themselves seem to recognize the 
extent of the problem: nearly two-thirds (62.9%) of the 650 officers who 



(xlv) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



responded to the recent LAPP survey expressed the opinion that "increased 
interaction with the community would improve the Department's relations with 
citizens." 

A model of community policing has gained increased acceptance in other 
parts of the country during the past 10 years. The community policing model 
places service to the public and prevention of crime as the primary role of 
police in society and emphasizes problem solving, with active citizen 
involvement in defining those matters that are important to the community, 
rather than arrest statistics. Officers at the patrol level are required to spend 
less time in their cars communicating with other officers and more time on the 
street communicating with citizens. Proponents of this style of policing insist 
that addressing the causes of crime makes police officers more effective crime- 
fighters, and at the same time enhances the quality of life in the neighborhood. 

The LAPD made early efforts to incorporate community policing principles 
and has continued to experiment with those concepts. For example, the 
LAPD's nationally recognized DARE program has been viewed by officers and 
the public alike as a major achievement The LAPD remains committed, 
however, to its traditional style of law enforcement with an emphasis on crime 
control and arrests. LAPD officers are encouraged to command and to 
confront, not to communicate. Community policing concepts, if successfully 
implemented, offer the prospect of effective crime prevention and substantially 
improved community relations. Although community-based policing is not a 
panacea for the problem of crime in society, the LAPD should carefully 
implement this model on a City-wide basis. This will require a fundamental 
change in values. The Department must recognize the merits of community 
involvement in matters that affect local neighborhoods, develop programs to 
gain an adequate understanding of what is important to particular communities, 
and learn to manage departmental affairs in ways that are consistent with the 
community views expressed. Above all, the Department must understand that 
it is accountable to all segments of the community. 

RECRUITMENT 

Although 40% of the candidates for admission to the Police Academy are 
disqualified as a result of psychological testing and background investigation, 
the Commissions review indicated that the initial psychological evaluation is an 



Summary of Report (xv) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



ineffective predictor of an applicant's tendencies toward violent behavior and 
that the background investigation pays too little attention to a candidate's 
history of violence. Experts agree that the best predictor of future behavior is 
previous behavior. Thus, the background investigation offers the best hope of 
screening out violence-prone applicants. Unfortunately, the background 
investigators are overworked and inadequately trained. 

Improved screening of applicants is not enough. Police work modifies 
behavior. Many emotional and psychological problems may develop during an 
officer's tenure on the force. Officers may enter the force well suited 
psychologically for the job, but may suffer from burnout, alcohol-related 
problems, cynicism, or disenchantment, all of which can result in poor control 
over their behavior. A person's susceptibility to the behavior-modifying 
experiences of police work may not be revealed during even the most skilled 
and sophisticated psychological evaluation process. Accordingly, officers 
should be retested periodically to determine both psychological and physical 
problems. In addition, supervisors must understand their role to include 
training and counseling officers to cope with the problems policing can often 
entail, so that they may be dealt with before an officer loses control or requires 
disciplinary action. 

TRAINING 

LAPD officer training has three phases. Each recruit spends approximately 
six months at the Police Academy. The new officer then spends one year on 
probation working with more experienced patrol officers who serve as field 
training officers ("FTOs"). Thereafter, all officers receive continuing training, 
which includes mandatory field training and daily training at roll call. The 
Commission believes that in each phase of the training additional emphasis is 
needed on the use of verbal skills rather than physical force to control 
potentially volatile situations and on the development of human relationship 
skills. 

The quality of instruction at the Police Academy is generally impressive. 
However, at present the curriculum provides only eight hours in cultural 
awareness training. No more than 1-1/2 hours is devoted to any ethnic group. 
Substantially more training on this important topic is essential. In addition, the 
Academy's current Spanish language program needs to be reviewed and 



(xvi) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



current deficiencies corrected. Officers with an interest in developing broader 
language skills should be encouraged to do so. 

Upon graduation the new officer works as a "probationary officer" assigned 
to various field training officers. The FTOs guide new officers' first contacts with 
citizens and have primary responsibility for introducing the probationers to the 
culture and traditions of the Department, The Commission's interviews of FTOs 
in four representative divisions revealed that many FTOs openly perpetuate the 
siege mentality that alienates patrol officers from the community and pass on to 
their trainees confrontational attitudes of hostility and disrespect for the public. 
This problem is in part the result of flaws in the way FTOs are selected and 
trained. The hiring of a very large number of new officers in 1989, which 
required the use of less experienced FTOs, greatly exacerbated the problem. 

Any officer promoted to Police Officer III by passing a written examination 
covering Department policies and procedures is eligible to serve as an FTO. At 
present there are no formal eligibility or disqualification criteria for the FTO 
position based on an applicants' disciplinary records. Fourteen of the FTOs in 
the four divisions the Commission studied had been promoted to FTO despite 
having been disciplined for use of excessive force or use of improper tactics. 
There also appears to be little emphasis on selecting FTOs who have an 
interest in training junior officers, and an FTO's training ability is given little 
weight in his or her evaluation. 

The most influential training received by a probationer comes from the 
example set by his or her FTO. Virtually all of the FTOs interviewed stated that 
their primary objective in training probationers is to instill good "officer safety 
skills." While the Commission recognizes the importance of such skills in 
police work, the probationers' world is quickly divided into "we/they" 
categories, which is exacerbated by the failure to integrate any cultural 
awareness or sensitivity training into field training. 

The Commission believes that, to become FTOs, officers should be 
required to pass written and oral tests designed to measure communications 
skills, teaching aptitude, and knowledge of Departmental policies regarding 
appropriate use of force, cultural sensitivity, community relations, and 
nondiscrimination. Officers with an aptitude for and interest in training junior 
officers should be encouraged by effective incentives to apply for FTO 
positions. In addition, the training program for FTOs should be modified to 



Summary of Report (xvii) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



place greater emphasis on communication skills and the appropriate use of 
force. Successful completion of FTO School should be required before an FTO 
begins teaching probationers. 

PROMOTION, ASSIGNMENT, AND OTHER PERSONNEL ISSUES 

In the civil service process for promotion of officers in the LAPD, the 
information considered includes performance evaluations, educational and 
training background, and all sustained complaints. The number and nature of 
any not sustained complaints, however, are not considered. The Commission 
recommends that a summary of not sustained complaints be considered in 
promotion decisions, as well as in paygrade advancements and assignments to 
desirable positions that are discretionary within the LAPD and outside the civil 
service system. 

This is not to say that a past complaint history, even including a sustained 
complaint for excessive force, should automatically bar an officer from 
promotion. But there should be a careful consideration of the officer's 
complaint history including a summary of not sustained complaints, and 
particularly multiple complaints with similar fact patterns. 

Complaint histories should also be considered in assignment of problem 
officers who may be using force improperly. For example, a problem officer 
can be paired with an officer with excellent communications skills that may 
lessen the need for use of force, as opposed to a partner involved in prior 
incidents of force with that problem officer. Another example is assignments to 
the jail facilities where potential for abuse by officers with a propensity to use 
excessive force is high. As several incidents examined by the Commission 
made clear, transfer of an officer to another geographical area is not likely to 
address a problem of excessive force without other remedial measures such as 
increased supervising, training and counseling. 

Since 1980 the Department has permitted police officers working in patrol 
to select the geographic area or division for their patrol assignment subsequent 
to their initial assignment after completion of probation. As a result, sergeants 
and patrol officers tend to remain in one division for extended periods. The 
Commission believes that assignment procedures should be modified to 
require rotation through various divisions to ensure that officers work in a wide 
range of police functions and varied patrol locations during their careers. Such 



(xvifi) Summary of Report 



Report of the independent Commission 



a rotation program will increase officers' experience and also will enable the 
Department to deploy police patrols with greater diversity throughout the City. 

Under the current promotion system officers generally must leave patrol to 
advance within the Department. Notwithstanding the importance of the patrol 
function, therefore, the better officers are encouraged to abandon patrol. To 
give patrol increased emphasis and to retain good, experienced officers, the 
LAPD should increase rewards and incentives for patrol officers. 

PERSONNEL COMPLAINTS AND OFFICER DISCIPLINE 

No area of police operations received more adverse comment during the 
Commission's public hearings than the Department's handling of complaints 
against LAPD officers, particularly allegations involving the use of excessive 
force. Statistics make the public's frustration understandable. Of the 2,152 
citizen allegations of excessive force from 1986 through 1990, only 42 were 
sustained. 

All personnel complaints are reviewed by a captain in the LAPD's Internal 
Affairs Division ("IAD") to determine whether the complaint will be investigated 
by IAD or the charged officer's division. Generally IAD investigates only a few 
cases because of limited resources. Wherever investigated, the matter is 
initially adjudicated by the charged officer's division commanding officer, with a 
review by the area and bureau commanders. 

The Commission has found that the complaint system is skewed against 
complainants. People who wish to file complaints face significant hurdles. 
Some intake officers actively discourage filing by being uncooperative or 
requiring long waits before completing a complaint form. In many heavily 
Latino divisions, there is often no Spanish speaking officer available to take 
complaints. 

Division investigations are frequently inadequate. Based on a review of 
more than 700 complaint investigation files, the Commission found many 
deficiencies. For example, in a number of complaint files the Commission 
reviewed, there was no indication that the investigators had attempted to 
identify or locate independent witnesses or, if identified, to interview them. IAD 
investigations, on the whole, were of a higher quality than the division 
investigations. Although the LAPD has a special "officer involved shooting 
team," the Commission also found serious flaws in the investigation of shooting 



Summary of Report (xix) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



cases. Officers are frequently interviewed as a group, and statements are often 
not recorded until the completion of a "pre-interview." 

The process of complaint adjudication is also flawed. First, there is no 
uniform basis for categorizing witnesses as "independent" or "non-involved" as 
opposed to "involved," although that distinction can determine whether a 
complaint is "not sustained" or "sustained." Some commanding officers also 
evaluate witnesses' credibility in inconsistent and biased ways that improperly 
favor the officer, Moreover, even when excessive force complaints are 
sustained, the punishment is more lenient than it should be. As explained by 
one deputy chief, there is greater punishment for conduct that embarrasses the 
Department (such as theft or drug use) than for conduct that reflects improper 
treatment of citizens. Statistical data also support the inference that the 
Department treats excessive force violations more leniently than it treats other 
types of officer misconduct. 

Perhaps the greatest single barrier to the effective investigation and 
adjudication of complaints is the officers' unwritten code of silence; an officer 
does not provide adverse information against a fellow officer. While loyalty and 
support are necessary qualities, they cannot justify the violation of an officer's 
public responsibilities to ensure compliance with the law, including LAPD 
regulations. 

A major overhaul of the disciplinary system is necessary to correct these 
problems. The Commission recommends creation of the Office of the 
Inspector General within the Police Commission with responsibility to oversee 
the disciplinary process and to participate in the adjudication and punishment 
of the most serious cases. The Police Commission should be responsible for 
overseeing the complaint intake process. Citizens must believe they can lodge 
complaints that will be investigated and determined fairly. All complaints 
relating to excessive force (including improper tactics) should be investigated 
by IAD, rather than at the involved officer's division, and should be subject to 
periodic audits by the Inspector General. While the Chief of Police should 
remain the one primarily responsible for imposing discipline in individual cases, 
the Police Commission should set guidelines as a matter of policy and hold the 
Chief accountable for following them. 



(xx) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



STRUCTURAL ISSUES 

Although the City Charter assigns the Police Commission ultimate control 
over Department policies, its authority over the Department and the Chief of 
Police is illusory. Structural and operational constraints greatly weaken the 
Police Commission's power to hold the Chief accountable and therefore its 
ability to perform its management responsibilities, including effective oversight. 
Real power and authority reside in the Chief. 

The Chief of Police is the general manager and chief administrative officer 
of the Police Department. The Police Commission selects the Chief from 
among top competitors in a civil service examination administered by the 
Personnel Department. Candidates from outside the Department are 
disadvantaged by City Charter provisions and seniority rules. 

The Chief's civil service status largely protects him or her from disciplinary 
action or discharge by giving him a "substantial property right" in his job and 
declaring that he cannot be suspended or removed except for "good and 
sufficient cause" based upon an act or omission occurring within the prior year. 
In addition, recently enacted Charter Amendment 5 empowers the City Council 
to review and override the actions of the City's commissions, including the 
Police Commission. 

The Police Commission's staff is headed by the Commanding Officer, 
Commission Operations, a sworn LAPD officer chosen by the Police 
Commissioners, who normally serves in that post for two to three years. 
Because the Police Commission depends heavily on the Commanding Officer 
to review information received from the Department and to identify issues, it 
must also rely on his willingness to criticize his superior officers. However, he 
lacks the requisite independence because his future transfer and promotion are 
at the discretion of the Chief of Police, and he is part of the Chief's command 
structure as well as being answerable to the Police Commission. 

The Police Commission receives summaries, prepared by the Department, 
of disciplinary actions against sworn officers, but cannot itself impose 
discipline. The summaries are brief and often late, making it impossible for the 
Police Commission to monitor systematically the discipline imposed by the 
Chief in use of force and other cases. 

The Commission believes that the Department should continue to be under 
the general oversight and control of a five-member, part-time citizen Police 



Summary of Report (xxl) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Commission. Commissioners' compensation should be increased 
substantially. They should serve a maximum of five years with staggered 
terms. The Police Commission's independent staff should be increased by 
adding civilian employees, including management auditors, computer systems 
data analysts, and investigators with law enforcement experience. It is vital that 
the Police Commission's staff be placed under the control of an independent 
civilian Chief of Staff, a general manager level employee. 

The Chief of Police must be more responsive to the Police Commission 
and the City's elected leadership, but also must be protected against improper 
political influences. To achieve this balance, the Chief should serve a five-year 
term, renewable at the discretion of the Police Commission for one additional 
five-year term. The selection, tenure, discipline, and removal of the Chief 
should be exempted from existing civil service provisions. The Chief should be 
appointed by the Mayor, with advice from the Police Commission and the 
consent of the City Council after an open competition. The Police Commission 
should have the authority to terminate the Chief prior to the expiration of the 
first or second five-year term, but the final decision to terminate should require 
the concurrence of the Mayor and be subject to a reversal by vote of two-thirds 
of the City Council. 

IMPLEMENTATION 

Full implementation of this Report will require action by the Mayor, the City 
Council, the Police Commission, the Police Department, and ultimately the 
voters. To monitor the progress of reform, the City Council should require 
reports on implementation at six month intervals from the Mayor, the Council's 
own Human Resources and Labor Relations Committee, the Police 
Commission, and the Police Department. The Commission should reconvene 
in six months to assess the implementation of its recommendations and to 
report to the public. 

Chief Gates has served the LAPD and the City 42 years, the past 13 years 
as Chief of Police, He has achieved a noteworthy record of public service in a 
stressful and demanding profession. For the reasons set forth in support of the 
recommendation that the Chief of Police be limited to two five-year terms, the 
Commission believes that commencement of a transition in that office is now 
appropriate. The Commission also believes that the interests of harmony and 



(xxli) Summary of Report 



Report of the Independent Commission 



healing would be served if the Police Commission is now reconstituted with 
members not identified with the recent controversy involving the Chief. 

More than any other factor, the attitude and actions of the leaders of the 
Police Department and other City agencies will determine whether the 
recommendations of this Report are adopted. To make genuine progress on 
issues relating to excessive force, racism and bias, leadership must avoid 
sending mixed signals. We urge those leaders to give priority to stopping the 
use of excessive force and curbing racism and bias and thereby to bring the 
LAPD to a new level of excellence and esteem throughout Los Angeles. 



Summary of Report (xxiii) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter One: 

The Rodney King Beating and 
The Questions It Has Raised 

RODNEY G. KING -- MARCH 3, 1991 3 

The Pursuit 4 

Arrival Of Additional LAPD Units 5 

Beating And Arrest 5 

Post-Arrest Events 8 

THE DEPARTMENT'S REACTION TO ATTEMPTS 

TO REPORT THE KING INCIDENT 9 

Paul King 9 

George Holliday , 11 

THE LAPD OFFICERS AT THE SCENE 1 1 

THE OFFICIAL RESPONSE 

TO THE RODNEY KING INCIDENT 12 

COMPUTER AND RADIO TRANSMISSIONS 14 

THE PUBLIC RESPONSE 15 

THE AFTERMATH OF THE BEATING: 

QUESTIONS THAT DEMAND ANSWERS 16 



Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 1 



Report of the Independent Commission 



2 Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"[They] should know better than run, they 
are going to pay a price when they do that. " 

LAPD dispatcher requesting 
an ambulance for Rodney Kina 
March 3, 1991 



Chapter One: 

The Rodney King Beating and 
the Questions It Has Raised 



RODNEY G. KING - MARCH 3, 1991 

Rarely has the work of an amateur photographer so captured the nation's 
attention as did the dramatic and disturbing scene recorded by George 
Holliday's video camera in the early morning of March 3, 1991 -- the morning 
Rodney G. King, a 25-year-old African- American, was beaten by three 
uniformed officers of the Los Angeles Police Department while a sergeant and 
a large group of LAPD, California Highway Patrol, and Los Angeles Unified 
School District officers stood by. The Holliday tape showed the officers 
clubbing King with 56 baton strokes and kicking him in the head and body. 
Within days, television stations across the country broadcast and rebroadcast 
the tape, provoking a public outcry against police abuse. 

This Commission is not responsible for determining the culpability of the 
officers involved in the King incident; that is properly in the hands of the 
courts. Nevertheless, the King incident is described here in some detail 
because it was that event that led to the creation of this Commission, and 



Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 3 



Report of the Independent Commission 



because in many respects the King beating raises most of the issues we 
consider, 

The Pursuit 

California Highway Patrol Officers Melanie Singer and Timothy Singer first 
observed King's white Hyundai at approximately 12:40 a.m. on Sunday 
morning, March 3, 1991, in the Pacoima area of the northeastern San 
Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. King's vehicle was approaching from the rear 
of the CHP vehicle at a high speed as the Singers drove westbound on the 
Interstate 210 freeway. King was driving, accompanied by two passengers, 
both of whom were also African-Americans. King passed the patrol car and 
then slowed, The CHP unit left the freeway and immediately reentered to pace 
King's vehicle, which had resumed traveling at a high speed. 

The CHP officers reported that King's vehicle "was traveling at 110 to 115 
m.p.h. (using the #1, 2 and 3 lanes)." (Some have questioned whether a 
Hyundai is capable of being driven in excess of 100 m.p.h.) The CHP unit 
activated its emergency lights and siren. King slowed somewhat, but failed to 
stop. Instead, he left the freeway and continued through a stop sign at the 
bottom of the ramp at approximately 50 m.p.h. King drove westbound at a 
high speed (estimated at 80 m.p.h.), reportedly running a red light. One 
passenger in King's car, Bryant Allen, reportedly urged King to slow down and 
pull over. The other passenger, Freddie Helms, said he was asleep during the 
entire chase. (Helms subsequently died in an unrelated traffic accident) 

LAPD patrol car unit 16A23, assigned to Officers Laurence M. Powell and 
Timothy Wind, joined the pursuit as the LAPD's primary pursuit car. A Los 
Angeles Unified School District Police squad car which was in the area also 
joined the pursuit. 

King apparently stopped at a red light at the corner of Osborne Street and 
Foothill Boulevard in Lakeview Terrace. When the light turned green, King 
pulled through the intersection and came to a stop. The time was 12:50 a.m. 
An LAPD unit, probably 16A23, radioed a "Code 6" - indicating that the chase 
had concluded. 



4 Chapter 1 ; The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Arrival of Additional LAPD Units 

Following the Code 6 broadcast from the field, the LAPD Radio 
Transmission Operator (RTO) reported the Code 6 and "cleared" the 
broadcast frequencies so that units in other divisions monitoring the pursuit 
could return to normal transmissions. Approximately 60 seconds later, an 
unknown voice reported to the RTO, , . Foothill and Osborne, there appears 
to be sufficient units here," At 12:50:50 a.m., the RTO broadcast a "Code 4". 
According to the LAPD manual, a Code 4 notifies all units that "additional v 

assistance is not needed at the scene" and indicates that all units not at the 

1 

scene "shall return to their assigned patrol area." 

In ail, 11 additional LAPD units (including one helicopter) with 21 officers 
arrived at the end-of-pursuit scene. At least 12 of the officers arrived following ^ 
the Code 4 broadcast. A number of these officers had no convincing 
explanation for why they went to the scene after the Code 4 broadcast. For 
example, five of the officers were at Foothill Station doing paperwork at the 
end of their shift when they heard the pursuit broadcast on the radio. The five 
took two separate cars, joined the pursuit, and continued to its termination 
after the Code 4. One of these officers told District Attorney investigators that 
he proceeded to the scene after the Code 4 "to see what was happening," 

Officers Theodore J. Briseno and Rolando Solano heard a radio call of the 
CHP pursuit and were heading toward the pursuit when they were designated 
the LAPD's secondary pursuit car. They then heard that the pursuing units 
were Code 6, saw flashing police lights off in the distance, and proceeded to 
the scene. As they parked, King was beginning to get out of his car in 
response to directions from officers at the site. Sergeant Stacey Koon also 
arrived at the scene as the pursuit ended, Sergeant Koon was an assigned 
field supervisor responsible for monitoring the activities of Foothill officers. 

Beating and Arrest 

Disputed Events Before the Hofliday Video 

At the termination of the pursuit, CHP Officer Timothy Singer, 
following "felony stop" procedures, used a loudspeaker to order all occupants 
out of King's car. Passengers Allen and Helms exited the car on the right-hand 
side. According to Koon and Powell, King initially refused to comply with the 



Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 5 



Report of the Independent Commission 



order to leave his car. Both stated that when he finally did leave the car, he did 
not follow directions, reentered the car, and then came back out. 

In a statement to the press on March 6, 1991, King insisted he had 
followed orders to exit the car. Passenger Allen told investigators that King 
responded to the initial command, but neglected to unbuckle his seat belt, thus 
requiring him to sit down again to undo it before actually leaving the car. 

CHP Officer Melanie Singer told District Attorney investigators that 
she began to approach King intending to perform a "felony kneeling" 
procedure to take him into custody. However, the LAPD sergeant told her to 
stay back, "that they [the LAPD] would handle it." 

When King first stepped out of the car, Koon said he "felt threatened, 
but felt enough confidence in his officers to take care of the situation." Koon 
described King as big and muscular. (The arrest report lists King as 6'3" tail, 
weighing 225 pounds.) He said he believed King was "disoriented and 
unbalanced" and under the influence of PCP. 

After he left the car, King was ordered to lie flat on the ground. 
According to Koon and Powell, King responded by getting down on all fours, 
slapping the ground, and refusing to lie down. Powell said he tried to 4 force 
King to the ground, but King rose up and almost knocked him off his feet. 

Use of the Taser 

Koon ordered the officers to "stand clear." King was still on the 
ground. Koon fired the Taser electric stun gun once, and then again. Koon 
subsequently reported that King did not respond to either firing. Powell's arrest 
report states that the Taser "temporarily halt[ed] deft's [King's] attack," and 
Solano stated that the Taser appeared to affect King at first because the 
suspect shook and yelled for almost five seconds. 

Beating with Batons: Events on the Holiiday Video 

As George Holliday's videotape begins, King is on the ground. He 
rose and moved toward Powell. Solano termed it a "lunge," and said it was in 
the direction of Koon. It is not possible to tell from the videotape if King's 
movement is intended as an attack or simply an effort to get away. Taser wires 
can be seen coming from King's body. 



6 Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



As King moved forward, Powell struck King with his baton. The blow 
hit King's head, and he went down immediately. Powell hit King several 
additional times with his baton. The videotape shows Briseno moving in to try 
to stop Powell from swinging, and Powell then backing up. Koon reportedly 

5 

yelled "that's enough." King then rose to his knees; Powell and Wind 
continued to hit King with their batons while he was on the ground. King was 
struck again and again. 

Koon acknowledged that he ordered the baton blows, directing 
Powell and Wind to hit King with "power strokes." According to Koon, Powell 
and Wind used "bursts of power strokes, then backed off." 

Notwithstanding the repeated "power strokes" with the batons, the 
tape shows that King apparently continued to try to get up. Koon ordered the 
officers to "hit his joints, hit his wrists, hit his elbows, hit his knees, hit his 
ankles." Powell said he tried to strike King only in the arms and legs. 

Finally, after 56 baton blows and six kicks, five or six officers 
swarmed in and placed King in both handcuffs and cordcuffs restraining his 
arms and legs. King was dragged on his stomach to the side of the road to 
await arrival of a rescue ambulance. 

King's Passengers 

Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms both complied with officers' 
commands at the end of the pursuit to exit the Hyundai and to lie flat on the 
ground, in the so-called "prone-out" position. They were immediately 
handcuffed. A School District police officer had his gun drawn on the two of 
them as they lay on the ground on the passenger side of the car. 

Passengers Allen and Helms both heard screams from King, but 
could not see any of the beating because of their positions on the right side of 
the car. They were ordered not to look and to keep their heads on the ground. 
According to Helms, when he raised his head to get it out of the dirt, he was 
kicked in the side and hit in the head with a baton, drawing blood. Helms was 
treated at Huntington Memorial Hospital the next morning. Allen alleged he 
was kicked several times. After King had been handcuffed, Allen and Helms 
were pulled to their feet, taken to CHP squad cars, asked for identification, 
checked by computer, and released at the scene. 



Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 7 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Racial References During the Incident 

The officers involved in the use of force, as well as those who 
witnessed the incident, denied that any racial epithets or slurs were used. King 
told reporters in March 1991 that he heard "a little bit of yelling," but that "they 
beat me so bad I would not pay attention to what they were saying." By early 
May 1991, however, King, through his attorney Steven Lerman, maintained that 
officers repeatedly screamed racial slurs during the incident 

On May 7, 1991, Los Angeles public television station KCET 
broadcast an "enhanced audio" version of George Holliday's videotape. 
According to KCET, the enhanced video indicates that as King is being beaten, 
an officer is yelling "nigger, hands behind your back-your back." An audio 
enhancement done for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, on the 
other hand, was described as "inconclusive." 

Post-Arrest Events 

King was taken by rescue ambulance to Pacifica Hospital of the Valley for 
emergency treatment. Wind and Officer Susan Clemmer rode with King in the 
ambulance. King received 20 stitches, including five on the inside of his mouth, 
and was then transferred to the jail ward at County-USC Medical Center. 
Medical records indicate that King had a broken cheekbone and a broken right 
ankle. In his negligence claim filed with the City, King alleged he had suffered 
"11 skull fractures, permanent brain damage, broken [bones and teeth], kidney 
damage [and] emotional and physical trauma." 

Blood and urine samples taken from King five hours after his arrest 
showed that his blood-alcohol level was 0.075%, indicating that at the time of 
his arrest, he was over the level (0.08%) at which one can be presumed 
intoxicated under California law. The tests also showed "traces" of marijuana 
(26 ng/ml), but no indication of PCP or any other illegal drug. 

King was booked for evading arrest and held for four days. He was 
released on Wednesday, March 6, after prosecutors determined there was 
insufficient evidence to prosecute him. 



8 Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Inaccurate Reports After the King Beating 

Following the King beating, Powell prepared the Department's 
standard form arrest report. Powell described his use of the baton and King's 
alleged resistance: 

Deft recovered almost immediately [from the 
effects of the Taser] and resumed his hostile 
charge in our direction. Ofcr Wind and I drew our 
batons to defend against deft's attack and struck 
him several times in the arm and leg areas to 
incapacitate him, Deft, continued resisting kicking 
and swinging his arms at us. We finally kicked deft 
down and he was subdued by several ofcrs using 
the swarm technique. 

Powell's report of the incident is inconsistent with the scenes captured on the 
Holliday videotape in terms of the number and location of baton blows, as well 
as in the description of King's "resistance." 

King's injuries and medical treatment ("MT") were also described in 
the arrest report; "Deft was MT'd for abrasions and contusions on his face, 
arms, legs and torso areas." In his daily sergeant's log report, Koon included 
a similar description of King's injuries: "Several facial cuts due to contact with 
asphalt. Of a minor nature. A split inner lip. Suspect oblivious to pain." 

THE DEPARTMENTS REACTION TO 
ATTEMPTS TO REPORT THE KING INCIDENT 

Both video cameraman George Holliday and Paul King, Rodney's brother, 

attempted to report the apparent police abuse of Rodney King. 

Paul King 

Paul King was awakened by Rodney King's passenger, Bryant Allen, on 
Sunday, March 3, at approximately 4:00 a.m., and told that his brother Rodney 
had been beaten and arrested by the police. Allen also said someone might 
have videotaped the incident. On Monday morning, Paul King went to the 
Foothill Station to complain about the treatment of his brother. 

The officer at the front desk told Paul King he would have to wait. After 
waiting and then growing impatient, Paul King returned to the front desk as a 
sergeant came out from the back of the station. Paul King said he wanted to 



Chapter 1: The Rodney King Beating 9 



Report of the Independent Commission 



make a complaint about his brother; the sergeant took Paul King back to a 
detective's interview room. 

According to Paul King, the sergeant went in and out of the interview room 
several times during the 40 minutes Paul King was there, spending 
approximately half of that time out of the room. The sergeant states that he left 
the room once for about 30 minutes to find the arrest report and to attempt to 
locate a use of force report, which is required after any LAPD officer uses force 
more severe than a "firm grip." Paul King specifically asked about the 
procedures for making a complaint and advised the sergeant that a videotape 
of the incident existed. 

According to Paul King, the sergeant began by asking whether he had ever 
been in trouble, Paul King responded that he was there to talk about Rodney 
King, not himself. The sergeant recalls discussing the public perception of and 
reaction to police officers in general in an effort to make Paul King feel more 
comfortable. 

The sergeant told Paul King that he would check the logs and said 
something to the effect that an investigation was going on. In response to Paul 
King's inquiry as to what was being investigated, the sergeant told him that 
Rodney King was in "big trouble," that he had been caught in a high-speed 
chase going 100 m.p.h. or so and that, according to the reported ground for the 
arrest, Rodney King had put someone's life in danger, possibly a police officer. 

The sergeant told Paul King that he should try to find the video, and that 
the video could be of help. The sergeant did not at any time fill out a personnel 
complaint form. According to Paul King, when he left Foothill Station "I knew I 
hadn't made a complaint." 

The sergeant told the Commission staff he followed usual procedures 
when conducting the Paul King interview. The sergeant explained that when an 
individual makes a general complaint of police misconduct without specific 
details, he conducts a preliminary investigation. If that investigation reveals 
facts that, if true, would warrant discipline, a personnel complaint is prepared. 
If no complaint is prepared, the information he gathers is written down and 
passed along to his superior officers. Based on the general information he 
received from Paul King, the sergeant reported in his daily log that no further 
action was necessary, pending completion and evaluation of the use of force 
report or receipt of additional evidence such as the videotape. 



10 Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



George Holliday 

George Holliday reported that he called the Foothill Station on Monday, 
March 4, intending to offer his videotape to the police. Holliday informed the 
desk officer who answered the call that he had witnessed an incident involving 
a motorist who had been beaten by LAPD officers. Holliday said he inquired as 
to the condition of the motorist and was told that "we [the LAPD] do not release 
information like that." 

According to Holliday, the desk officer made no attempt to learn any 
details of the event Holliday witnessed. No personnel complaint was generated 
as a result of his call. Holliday said he did not inform the Foothill officer that he 
had videotaped the beating. 

Confronted with what he viewed as disinterest on the part of the LAPD, 
Holliday made arrangements with Los Angeles television station KTLA to 
broadcast the videotape on Monday evening. The following day the tape 
received national exposure on the Cable News Network, and thereafter was 
reported widely in the media. 

THE LAPD OFFICERS AT THE SCENE 

Twenty-three LAPD officers responded to the scene of the Rodney King 
incident. Four LAPD officers - Sergeant Koon and Officers Powell, Briseno, 
and Wind ~ were directly involved in the use of force and have been indicted on 
felony charges, including assault with a deadly weapon. Koon and Powell are 
also charged with submission of a false police report. Two of the LAPD officers 
were in a helicopter overhead. Ten other LAPD officers were actually present 
on the ground during some portion of the beating. Seven other LAPD officers 
merely drove by the scene or otherwise did not directly witness the use of 
force. Four uniformed officers from two other law enforcement agencies « the 
California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Unified School District were 
also at the scene. 

The ages of these 23 LAPD officers ranged from 23 to 48 years. Their 
experience varied from 10 days to 29 years since graduation from the Police 
Academy. In the group were one African-American male, one African-American 
female, four Latino males, two white females, and 15 white males. Four of the 
10 LAPD bystanders were field training officers responsible for supervising 



Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 1 1 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"probationary" officers in their first year after graduation from the Police 
Academy, 

Earlier that evening during roll call, a training session on use of the baton 
had been conducted in the parking lot of the Foothill Station. Both Powell and 
Wind participated in that session. 

Because of the pending criminal trial of the four indicted officers, the 
Commission's access to their personnel files was restricted by court order. 
Based on published reports and public documents, however, it appears that 
three of the four indicted officers had been named in prior complaints for 
excessive force. Public records confirm that one officer had been suspended 
for 66 days in 1987 for kicking and hitting a Latino suspect with a baton. This 
officer was also the subject of a 1985 excessive force complaint, corroborated 
by a witness who came forward with information to the Commission, that had 
been rejected by the LAPD as "not sustained." According to press reports, 
another officer had been suspended for five days in 1986 for failing to report his 
use of force against a suspect following a vehicle pursuit and foot chase. (The 
suspect's excessive force complaint against the officer was held "not 
sustained" by the LAPD.) A third indicted officer was the subject of a 1986 "not 
sustained" complaint for excessive force against a handcuffed suspect. Since 
the King incident, that officer has been sued by a citizen who alleges that the 
officer broke his arm by hitting him with a baton in 1989, 

THE OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO THE RODNEY KING INCIDENT 

The Rodney King beating was televised on March 4 on local Los Angeles 
station KTLA The public reaction was immediate and overwhelming. 
Telephone calls expressing outrage at Rodney King's treatment flooded the 
Mayor's Office, the Police Department, and the media. The strong negative 
reaction included expressions of shock by some that such an incident could 
occur in Los Angeles, given the LAPD's national reputation for professional 
policing. 

Immediately after the Holliday video was televised, Police Chief Daryl Gates 
stated that the tape was "shocking," but that he would withhold judgment on 
the behavior of the officers until the incident could be investigated. Chief Gates 
also described the incident as an aberration and expressed his hope that the 
public would not judge the entire Department on this one case. Mayor Tom 



12 Chapter 1 ; The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Bradley said he was "shocked and outraged" by the incident and emphasized 
that "this is something we cannot, and will not tolerate/' 

By March 6, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles District 
Attorney's Office, and the Los Angeles Police Department's Internal Affairs 
Division had begun investigations. The Police Commission, the civilian panel 
that oversees the Police Department, also began an inquiry. 

On March 27, Chief Gates announced a "10-Point Plan" {included in 
Appendix I) in response to the Rodney King beating, stating that "there must be 
a thorough and diligent search for any underlying reasons why those officers 
engaged in such lawlessness." In addition, Chief Gates made several 
personnel changes in the command structure at the Valley Bureau and Foothill 
Division, the area where the King beating occurred. The Valley Bureau 
commander was reassigned to LAPD headquarters and an African-American 
officer was made commander of patrol officers at the Foothill Division. The 
Foothill Division Commanding Officer, Captain Tim McBride, remained in his 
position. 

Four officers were indicted by the District Attorney's office on criminal 
charges: Sergeant Stacey Koon and Officers Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, 
and Theodore Briseno. Wind, a first-year officer still on probation, has been 
fired; the other three officers face administrative hearings in which the 
Department is seeking their dismissal. The District Attorney's office did not 
seek indictments against the 17 LAPD officers who were at the scene and did 
not attempt to prevent the beating or report it to their superiors. The District 
Attorney, however, referred the matter of the bystanders to the United States 
Attorney for an assessment of whether federal civil rights laws were violated. 
To date, the United States Attorney has taken no action against the bystanders. 
The Department has transferred most of the bystander officers to other 
divisions within the City, and disciplinary action is pending against some of the 
bystanders. The watch commander (a lieutenant) was also transferred from 
Foothill Division. 

The CHP has disciplined its officers present at the King beating, as well as 
their superiors in the chain of command. CHP Officers Timothy and Melanie 
Singer received written reprimands for failing to report the excessive use of 
force in sufficient detail. The sergeant who was their immediate supervisor was 
suspended for 10 days for his delay in informing his supervising lieutenant of 



Chapter 1: The Rodney King Beating 13 



Report of the Independent Commission 



the King beating. The CHP lieutenant was demoted to sergeant for failing to 
initiate an investigation of the incident. The Los Angeles School District 
terminated its officers who were at the scene. 

COMPUTER AND RADIO TRANSMISSIONS 

Computer and radio messages transmitted among officers immediately 
after the beating raised additional concerns that the King beating was part of a 
larger pattern of police abuse. Shortly before the King beating, Powell's and 
Wind's patrol unit transmitted the computer message that an earlier domestic 
dispute between an African-American couple was "right out of 'Gorillas in the 
Mist'," a reference to a motion picture about the study of gorillas in Africa. 

The initial report of the beating came at 12:56 a.m., when Koon's unit 
reported to the Watch Commander's desk at Foothill Station, "You just had a 
big time use of force . . . tased and beat the suspect of CHP pursuit, Big Time." 
The station responded at 12:57 a.m., "Oh well ... I'm sure the lizard didn't 
deserve it . . . HAHA 111 let them know OK." 

Whoever was operating the Watch Commander's MDT did "let them 
know." At 12:57 a.m., the message went out from the station: "They just tased 
and beat the susp up big time in the pursuit" At 1:07 a.m., a further message 
said: "CHP chasing . . . failing to yield . . . passed A23 [Powell's and Wind's 
car] . . . they became primary then went C6 [Code 6] . . . got 415 [disturbance 
call] . . . then tased, then beat . . . basic stuff really," 

In response to a request from the scene for assistance for a "victim of a 
beating," the LAPD dispatcher called the Los Angeles Fire Department for a 
rescue ambulance: 

P.D.: . . . Foothill & Osborne. In the valley dude 
(Fire Department dispatcher laughs) and 
like he got beat up. 

F.D.: (laugh) wait (laugh). 

P.D.: We are on scene. 

F.D.: Hold, hold on, give me the address again. 

P.D.: Foothill & Osborne, he pissed us off, so I 
guess he needs an ambulance now. 

F.D.: Oh, Osborne. Little attitude adjustment? 



14 Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



P.D.: Yeah, we had to chase him. 
F.D.: OH! 

P.D.; CHP and us, i think that kind of irritated us 
a little. 

F.D.: Why would you want to do that for? 

P.O.: (laughter) should know better than run, 
they are going to pay a price when they do 
that. 

F.D.: What type of incident would you say this is. 

P.D.; it's a . . . it's a . . . battery, he got beat up. 

Powell's and Wind's unit transmitted the word "oops" at 1:12 a.m. to foot 
patrol officers working the Sunland Tujunga area of Foothill Division, who were 
not at the scene of the beating. The following exchange then occurred during 
the next five minutes: 

"Oops, what?" 

[From Powell/Wind] "I haven't beaten anyone this 
bad in a long time." 

"Oh not again . . . why for you do that ... I thought 
you agreed to chill out for a while, what did he 
da?" 

[From Powell/Wind] "I think he was dusted . . . 
many broken bones later after the pursuit." 

At Pacifica Hospital, where King was taken for initial treatment, nurses 
reported that the officers who accompanied King (who included Wind) openly 
joked and bragged about the number of times King had been hit. 



THE PUBLIC RESPONSE 

As noted above, public reaction to the King beating, and in particular to 
the degree and duration of the force used, was clear: the officers' conduct as 
depicted in the videotape was denounced as intolerable. Public outrage 
focused not simply on the fact that the officers involved used more than 50 
"power strokes" with their batons and kicks to Rodney King's head and body 
in an open, public location, but also on the presence at the scene of a 



Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 15 



Report of the Independent Commission 



sergeant, who failed to control the situation, and a large number of other 
officers, none of whom attempted to intervene. 

Moreover, the videotape and subsequently reported computer 
communications provoked concern that the beating was an example of 
widespread, racially motivated "street justice" administered by some in the 
LAPD, and reinforced the belief, particularly held by some members of Los 
Angeles 1 minority communities, that excessive use of force by the LAPD is 
common. 

That view is shared by many outside Los Angeles' minority communities. 
A Los Angeles Times poll conducted on March 7-8, 1991, found that nearly 
two-thirds (83%) of the respondents in the City of Los Angeles, including a 
majority of whites, said that they believed incidents of police brutality involving 
the LAPD are "common," The same question asked two weeks later 
produced comparable results, with 68% of all respondents (59% of whites, 
87% of African-Americans, and 80% of Latinos) stating that incidents of LAPD 
brutality were either "very common" or "fairly common." A similar, although 
somewhat less dramatic, perception concerning the LAPD's excessive use of 
force was found a year before the King beating. More than half (53%) of those 
from the City of Los Angeles who responded to a February 1990 Times poll 
stated that there was at least some police brutality within the City. In contrast, 
only 37% of the Orange County respondents believed there was some police 
brutality in their area. 

THE AFTERMATH OF THE BEATING: 
QUESTIONS THAT DEMAND ANSWERS 

The Rodney King beating gave immediate rise to myriad questions about 
the Los Angeles Police Department. Concerns were voiced about the 
openness of the officers' conduct; the presence of a sergeant who failed to 
control and indeed directed the violence; the puzzling convergence of so 
many officers at the end-of-pursuit location after the Code 4 broadcast that no 
assistance was needed; the number of officers who stood by during the 
beating and failed to report it afterwards; and the radio comments and 
computer transmissions before and after the incident that suggested a 
possible racial motivation and a ready acceptance of excessive force as "basic 
stuff" by LAPD officers. 



16 Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



More fundamental questions quickly arose as well: 

• concerns about the LAPD's "culture" and 
officers' attitudes toward racial and other 

minorities 

• the apparent failure to control or discipline 
officers with repeated complaints of excessive 
force 

• the accuracy with which arrest and use of 
force reports are completed 

• the inability to screen out applicants to the 
LAPD with psychological profiles indicating a 
propensity to violence 

• the possibility that "street justice" is regularly 
meted out by LAPD officers after a pursuit or 
chase 

• the disparity between the training received at 
the Police Academy and the way the LAPD 
operates in the field 

• the difficulties the public encounters in 
attempting to make complaints against LAPD 
officers 

• the role of the LAPD leadership and civilian 
oversight authorities in addressing or 
contributing to these problems 

These and related questions and concerns form the basis for the 
Commission's work. 



Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 17 



Report of the Independent Commission 



NOTES TO CHAPTER ONE 

1 . LAPD Manual, Vol. 4, p.289. 

2. Excerpt from LAPD Internal Affairs Report, quoted in the May 21, 1991 edition of the Los 
Angeles Times, hereinafter referred to as "IAD/Times." 

3. IAD/Times 

4. Id. 

5. Id. 

6. Id. 

7. Id. 



1 8 Chapter 1 : The Rodney King Beating 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Two: 
Los Angeles and Its Police Department 

LOS ANGELES 21 

THE STRUCTURE AND STAFFING OF THE LAPD 22 

VIOLENT CRIME TRENDS 23 

PRIOR INCIDENTS 25 

THE LAPD'S POLICY ON USE OF FORCE 26 



Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 19 



Report of the Independent Commission 



20 Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 



Report of the Independent Commission 



In 1986, LAPD officers had the highest 
average number of violent and property 
crime arrests among officers in the six 
largest cities in the United States 

Data from the Police 
Foundation, The Big Six: 
Policing America's 
Largest Cities (1991) 



Chapter Two: 
Los Angeles and its 
Police Department 



LOS ANGELES 

Los Angeles is the second largest city in the nation, with over 3.4 million people 
living within its 465 square mile area. The City sits within Los Angeles County, 
composed of 87 smaller cities and a number of unincorporated areas, with a 
total additional population of almost 5.5 million. The area is bounded by large 
neighboring populations in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura 
Counties. 

Recent census data reflect the enormous diversity and dramatic changes 
in Los Angeles' population mix. According to the 1990 Preliminary Census, the 
City's white population constitutes 37% of the total; African-Americans, 13%; 
Latinos, 40%; and Asian/Pacific Islanders and others, 10%. These numbers 
reflect the large Latino and Asian immigration into Southern California and the 
steady rise in the Latino population generally within the area. In many respects, 
Los Angeles is a city subdivided into a patchwork of communities, 
neighborhoods, cities-within-the-City, barrios, ghettos, and enclaves marked by 
residential segregation and a large percentage of recent immigrants only 
beginning their acculturation. Over 80 languages are spoken by students in the 



Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 



21 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Los Angeles City schools, and 39% of these students come from homes where 
English is not the primary language. The automobile strongly influences life in 
Los Angeles, with the City's freeways symbolizing the far-ranging mobility of the 
area's populace. 

Los Angeles is rightly viewed as a fast-paced, upwardly mobile, ethnically 
diverse, and modern city. Unhappily, violent crime has become another 
distressing aspect of Los Angeles life, aggravated by the influx of drug 
trafficking and the presence of numerous violent neighborhood gangs. 

This, then, is the working environment of the Los Angeles Police 
Department. 

THE STRUCTURE AND STAFFING OF THE LAPD 

The Police Department is headed by Chief of Police Daryl Gates, with an 
executive staff currently consisting of two assistant chiefs, five deputy chiefs, 
and 17 commanders. The following organizational chart (Table 2-1) shows the 
Department's overall structure. As discussed more fully in Chapter 10 of this 
Report, the City Charter provides that the Department is ultimately under the 
control and oversight of the five-member civilian Board of Police 
Commissioners (referred to throughout this Report as the "Police 
Commission"). 

The Department is divided into three administrative offices: Administrative 
Services, Operations, and Special Services. The Office of Operations, headed 
by Assistant Chief Robert Vernon, accounts for about 84% of the Department's 
personnel, including the patrol officers and detectives whose activities are most 
familiar to the public. There are 18 separate geographic areas under the Office 
of Operations, divided among four bureaus (Central, South, West, Valley) as 
illustrated on the following bureau map (Table 2-2). In addition, some 42 other 
police departments coexist in the City and County of Los Angeles, including the 
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol. 

The LAPD currently numbers approximately 8,450 sworn police officers, 
augmented by over 2,000 civilian personnel. According to 1986 data recently 
published by the Police Foundation concerning the police departments in the 
country's six largest cities, The Big Six: Policing America's Largest Cities 
(1991), Los Angeles has the lowest ratio of sworn officers per resident (2:1,000) 
and the second lowest ratio of officers per square mile (15:1). As of 1986, 



22 Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 



TABLE 2-1 



ORGANIZATION OF THE 

LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT 



EMPLOYEE RE LAI 
AOMNNSTftATl 



TONS 



press RELATIONS 
COMMANDER 



CHKF Of STAFF 



OffSfOf 



TraMiif D 



FISCAL SUPPORT BUREAU 



F*«| OpwiOtn* DM»i»* 

MaMfTSSfMrt OMttMt 



1 — SUPPORT SERVICES •UREAS 



LITIGATION PROCESSING 
SECTION 



POUOE FACILITIES 
COWSTRUCTKXOftOUP 



OPERATIONS ™ 
CERTRAl BUREAU 



SOUTH 



fSmm 



orna of operations 



HEADQUARTERS IUREAU 



SERVICES GROUP 



DETECTIVE SERVICES GROUP 



OiMdhw Su ppo rt OfcMon 
Ounco-f win Otitofcw 
Rottb«> HoiicMt DMK«* 
•urUv^AutoTMOMNon 



ATBNS- 
T tUREAU 



Rflwt TfifWc DMstoo 



DJWMMMn Artt 
VMMy Tf idle OtvlflMt 



omcE of snow, services 



•UREAUOf 
SPECIAL INVESTIGATION 



T 



199! 



Manual of the Los Angeles Police Deportment 



115 



TABLE 2-2 




Report of the Independent Commission 



Houston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit all had more officers 
per resident than Los Angeles. 

As in all of the police departments in the six largest cities, white officers 
(68,7% of the Department in 1986} are overrepresented in the LAPD in 
comparison with the percentage of whites in the City's total population, As of 
1986, African-American officers made up 12.4% of the LAPD and Latinos made 
up 16.5% of the force, reflecting aggressive recruiting among both groups 
spurred by a consent decree governing the recruitment, hiring, and promotion 
of African-Americans and Latinos. The percentage of African-Americans in the 
LAPD has now grown to 13.6%. In addition, the Department has about 2% 
Asian officers and aims to increase this percentage to 7% by the year 2000. 

The LAPD has a reputation as a hard working, car-based mobile strike 
force that is tough on criminals. The Police Foundation data bear this out. To 
deal with the criminal challenge, the LAPD pioneered the use of SWAT teams, 
helicopters, and a motorized battering ram. 

VIOLENT CRIME TRENDS 

The Commission received extensive information regarding the relationship 
between national violent crime trends and those evident in Los Angeles, 
summarized in the following table (Table 2-3). While the overall rate of violent 
crime in the United States increased from 200 incidents per 100,000 residents 
in 1960 to 700 incidents per 100,000 residents in 1989, the crimes reported per 
person in Los Angeles during the same time period were more than twice the 
national average. According to the Police Foundation, in 1986 Los Angeles 
police were the busiest among the officers in the six largest cities in the United 
States. For each sworn officer that year, Los Angeles had the highest number 
of recorded violent crimes (9.2 compared with 5.2 in New York, the second 
highest), and the highest number of recorded property crimes (35,2 compared 
with 32.1 in Houston). LAPD officers had the highest average number of violent 
crime arrests (3.1 per officer compared with 1.9 in Detroit, the second highest), 
and the highest average number of property crime arrests (4.4 per officer 
compared with 3.8 in both Chicago and Houston). 

In 1986, compared with officers in the other five of the six largest cities in 
the United States, members of the LAPD killed or wounded the greatest 
number of civilians, adjusted to the size of the police force. LAPD officers killed 



Chapter 2; Los Angeles and Its Police Department 23 



TABLE 2-3 

RATE OF VIOLENT CRIME SINCE 1960 
NATIONALLY AND IN 6 MAJOR CITIES 





1960 


1970 


1980 


1989 


UNITED STATES 


160.9 


363.5 


580.7 


663.2 


LOS ANGELES 


376.3 


737.5 


1339.6 


1601.1 


NEW YORK 


183.5 


980.7 


1710.6 


2021.2 


CHICAGO 


396.1 


633.6 


585.0 




PHILADELPHIA 


203.1 


321.1 


637.9 


608.5 


HOUSTON 


230.5 


562.4 


718.8 


801.1 


DETROIT 


309.8 


916.8 


859.6 


891.2 



*Data Not Available 

Chicago did not report rape in accordance with national guidelines 



Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports 



Report of the Independent Commission 



3.0 persons per 1,000 sworn officers and wounded 8.1 persons per 1,000 
sworn officers. In Detroit, with the second highest violent and property crime 
arrest rate, the comparable numbers were 1.2 and 5.0, respectively. 

In terms of officers killed in 1986, Los Angeles 1 rate per 5,000 officers was 
1.4, compared with Philadelphia at 1.5, Houston at 2.2, Detroit at 3.0, and on 
the lower side New York and Chicago each at 0.4. An April 25, 1991, New 
York Times article reported that, contrary to public perception, statistics show 
that the streets of America are considerably less deadly for police officers today 
than they were 20 years ago. Last year 65 officers nationally were killed in the 
line of duty, the lowest number since 1968 and about half the peak rate of 120 
officers a year in the early 1970's. Police work remains dangerous, however, as 
the tragic death of Officer Tina Kerbat last February and the recent crash of a 
police helicopter killing Officers Gary Howe and Charles Champe make 
painfully clear. 

Social scientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists who have studied the 
problem of violence report that the United States is one of the most violent 
societies in the world. One expert consultant to the Commission, Louis J. West, 
M.D. t Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, has observed that the United States has 
been experiencing an epidemic of interpersonal violence for more than 30 
years. Since 1960, the annual incidence of all violent crimes combined 
(homicide, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and armed robbery) has 
quadrupled. In Los Angeles, like most of the biggest cities, crime rates are 
much higher, with Los Angeles consistently 2.5 times higher than the national 
average. 

As crime rates soar, police officers must contend with more and more 
actual and potential violence each day. LAPD officers frequently face injury- 
producing and life-threatening situations. They are dispatched to scenes of 
shootings, murders, robberies, and burglaries; called to investigate incidents of 
rape and physical or sexual child abuse; and required to respond to domestic 
disputes, in which officers are mediators, referees, and often victims of violence 
themselves. One moment officers must confront armed felons; the next they 
must deal with predicaments requiring kindness, caring, and supportiveness. 
As Dr. West emphasizes: 

[l]t is important to realize that police officers are 
now required to be diagnosticians and, indeed, 
gatekeepers with respect to the intoxicated, the 



24 Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 



Report of the Independent Commission 



mentally ill, the traumatized, the emotionally 
distraught, the bereaved, and even those in the grip 
of existential despair. It may well be that the police 
have more total contact with disturbed individuals 
in our society than does any other category of 
health professionals.2 

Although the Commission focused its inquiry on Los Angeles and its Police 
Department, violence, stress, and the use of force are not simply a Los Angeles 
concern, as the comments of Dr. West and the Big Six data compiled by the 
Police Foundation bear witness. Indeed, shortly after the formation of this 
Commission, the heads of 11 police departments from 10 cities around the 
country (Baltimore, Boston, Bridgeport, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Portland, 
St. Petersburg, San Diego, and Tulsa) called for a national commission on 
crime and violence to track instances of police brutality, stating that the 
problem of excessive force is real and is linked to drugs, strife, and urban 
decay. 

PRIOR INCIDENTS 

The Rodney King incident was not the first instance of a highly charged, 
notorious event spurring calls for inquiry and reform in Los Angeles. In the 
glare of such scrutiny, some constructive changes in Police Department 
policies and procedures have occurred at various times. For example, the 
"Sleepy Lagoon" incident in the 1940's triggered concerns about discrimination 
against Latinos; the discovery in the 1970's of secret intelligence files in the 
Police Department led to a policy against the Department spying on Los 

4 

Angeles citizens' lawful activities; and the 1979 fatal shooting of Eulia Love led 
to reforms in the Department's use of force policy. Perhaps the most well- 
known event was the six-day riot in South-Central Los Angeles during the 
summer of 1965, leading to the creation of the Governor's Commission on the 
Los Angeles Riots (the McCone Commission). 



Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 25 



Report of the Independent Commission 



THE LAPD'S POLICY ON USE OF FORCE 

Because this Report is largely concerned with excessive use of force, it is 
appropriate to set forth the Police Department's stated policy and its guidelines 
regarding the proper uses of force. 

LAPD officers exercising physical force must comply with the LAPD's use 
of force policy and guidelines, adopted by the Police Commission in 1979, as 
well as California law. The LAPD policy states: 

In a complex urban society, officers are daily 
confronted with situations where control must be 
exercised to effect arrests and to protect the public 
safety. Control may be achieved through advice, 
warnings, and persuasion, or by the use of physical 
force. While the use of reasonable physical force 
may be necessary in situations which cannot be 
otherwise controlled, force may not be resorted to 
unless other reasonable alternatives have been 
exhausted or would clearly be ineffective under the 
particular circumstances. Officers are permitted to 
use whatever force that is reasonable and 
necessary to protect others or themselves from 
bodily harm. 

California Penal Code Section 835a states in part: "Any peace officer who 
has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed 
a public offense may use reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent 
escape or to overcome resistance." 

The use of force policy and the Penal Code both require that the force 
used be reasonable; the use of force policy also requires that the force used be 
necessary. The U\PD's use of force guidelines explain that an officer may 
resort to force only where he or she faces a credible threat. A suspect's verbal 
threats of violence by themselves do not justify use of physical force. 

In addition, under the use of force guidelines, an officer is required to react 
to a suspect's behavior with the minimum amount of force necessary to control 
the suspect. As the suspect escalates or de-escalates his or her level of 
resistance or aggressiveness, the officer must react accordingly. The 
guidelines identify five levels of force and the permissible use of force 
techniques within each level, as illustrated in the following use of force scale 
(Table 2-4). The five levels are (1) verbalization; (2) firm grip; (3) compliance 
holds; (4) intermediate force, including the use of the baton, kicks, swarm, 



26 Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 



USE OF FORCE SCALE 



TABLE 2-4 



DEADLY FORCE 



Upper Body 

1 Control Holds 

{e.g. carotid) 
INTERMEDIATE Firearms 
FORCE 



COMPLIANCE 
HOLDS 



Baton 

Kicks 
Swarm 

Chemical Gas 

Saps 

Taser 



FIRM GRIP 



VERBALIZATION 



Report of the Independent Commission 



chemical spray, saps, and taser; and (5) deadly force, including the modified 
carotid hold (sometimes called a "chokehoid") and firearms. 

The central task of the Commission was to determine whether and how the 
LAPD's use of force policy and guidelines are followed in practice. 



Chapter 2: Los Angeles and Its Police Department 27 



Report of the Independent Commission 




i 

i 



28 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Three: 

The Problem of Excessive Force 
In the LAPD 



EXCESSIVE FORCE AS A MANAGEMENT PROBLEM IN THE LAPD 32 

THE "PROBLEM GROUP" OF OFFICERS WITH 
HIGH CONCENTRATIONS OF COMPLAINTS, USES 

OF FORCE, AND SHOOTINGS 35 

COMMISSION STUDY OF ONE GROUP OF OFFICERS WITH 

FREQUENT EXCESSIVE OR IMPROPER FORCE COMPLAINTS 39 

Statistical Profile of the 44 Officers 40 

Review of Personnel Files and Performance 
Evaluations of the 44 Officers 40 

DISCUSSION OF BEATINGS, SHOOTINGS, AND PURSUITS 
IN PATROL CAR COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS 48 

FORCE-RELATED CIVIL LITIGATION INVOLVING LAPD 
OFFICERS 55 

Citizen Claims and Civil Litigation 
Involving the Use of Force 55 

Analysis of LAPD Investigation and Discipline 
in Cases Costing the City More than $15,000 56 

Specific Cases and the Underlying 
LAPD Investigations 57 

Civil Litigation As a Management Problem 60 

RECOMMENDATIONS 61 

Leadership 61 

Command Accountability 62 

Supervision, Monitoring, and Counseling 62 

Management Attention to Civil Litigation 63 

Audio and Videotaping of Contacts Between 
the Police and the Public 63 

"Mid-Level" Use of Force Options 64 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 29 



Report of the Independent Commission 



30 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



* We know who the bad guys are We 

know the [officers] who are getting into 
trouble more than anyone else." 

Former LAPD Assistant Chief 
Jesse Brewer 

"R U going to beat em up like U did the 
last time." 

Computer message sent 
between LAPD patrol cars 



Chapter Three: 

The Problem of Excessive Force 
In the LAPD 



The LAPD can be justifiably proud of its many strengths. It is widely recognized 
throughout the United States for efficiency, absence of corruption, quality of 
personnel, sophistication of technology, and accomplishments in crime- 
fighting. 

The Commission has found, however, that there is a significant number of 
officers who repetitively misuse force and persistently ignore the written policies 
and guidelines of the Department regarding force. By their misconduct, this 
group of officers tarnishes the reputations of the vast majority of LAPD officers 
who do their increasingly difficult job of policing the City with courage, skill, and 
judgment. While there are broader issues of LAPD "culture" and community 
relations that bear on the problem of excessive force in ways that we discuss in 
subsequent chapters, we concentrate here on the failure to control these 
problem officers. This is a management issue that we see as the heart of the 
problem of excessive force. 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 31 



Report of the Independent Commission 



EXCESSIVE FORCE AS A MANAGEMENT PROBLEM IN THE LAPP 

The problem of excessive force in the LAPD is fundamentally a problem of 
supervision, management, and leadership. What leaps out from the 
Department's own statistics and is confirmed by LAPD officers at the 
command level and in the rank-and-file - is that a "problem group" of officers 
use force, and are the subject of complaints alleging excessive or improper 
force, far more frequently than most other officers. Yet, the evidence obtained 
by the Commission shows that this group has received inadequate supervisory 
and management attention. 

Jesse Brewer, a retired 38-year LAPD veteran who served as Assistant 
Chief from 1987 until February 1991, testified before the Commission that this 
lack of management attention and accountability is the "essence of the 
excessive force problem" in the U\PD: 



We know who the bad guys are. Reputations 
become well known, especially to the sergeants 
and then of course to lieutenants and the captains 
in the areas. We know the ones who are getting 
into trouble more than anyone else. But, I don't 
see anyone bringing these people up and saying, 
"Look, you are not conforming, you are not 
measuring up. You need to take a look at yourself 
and your conduct and the way you're treating 
people" and so forth. I don't see that occurring. 

★ * * 



The sergeants don't, they're not held accountable 
so why should they be that much concerned. They 
know that some of these officers who do generate 
the most complaints are also the ones who make a 
lot of arrests and write a lot of tickets and so forth 
and the sergeants, I have a feeling that they don't 
think that much is going to happen to them anyway 
if they tried to take action and perhaps not even be 
supported by the lieutenant or the captain all the 
way up the line when they do take action against 
some individual. 

* * * 

I think more attention needs to be paid to these 
people that we know are ones who constantly get 
into trouble. It appears we have a large number, 
large - I don't know how large the number is - we 



32 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



have a number of people who have established a 
reputation for generating complaints. And we know ' 
that when you get one complaint, there are 
probably three or four instances where the same 
thing has occurred, but no complaint has been \ 
lodged because people don't necessarily, all 
people don't necessarily make complaints. And so 
we would say that if a person is generating an 
inordinate number of complaints, that someone in 
the chain of command and probably the captain, 
should be looking at these individuals and at least 
informing them that they are going to be closely 
scrutinized and their conduct is going to be 
monitored. So that I think, perhaps, that would . . . 
we would work with these individuals that we know 
are creating problems for us in the field. 

Chief of Police Daryl Gates recognized, in his testimony before the 
Commission, that the system for monitoring and counseling officers with a 
disturbing pattern of use of force or personnel complaints "has fallen by the 
wayside by some but not all" in the past four or five years and that the job "has 
been done too haphazardly" in recent years. Assistant Chief David Dotson, 
who heads the Department's Office of Special Services, testified that "we have 
failed miserably" in the LAPD to hold supervisors accountable for excessive 
force by officers under their command: 

There's one thing about discipline that 1 don't want 
to get away from, or don't want to get away from 
the subject without mentioning it. In my judgment, 
we do a very poor job of management and 
supervisory accountability, 

* * * 

. . . higher command officers when learning of 
[incidents of excessive force] having occurred took 
no action or very indecisive action, very weak and 
slow approach to doing something. Let me tell you 
that none of those people [the higher command 
officers] , with rare exceptions, have been 
disciplined. And, in fact, I'm not even sure they've 
been counseled in many of these incidents. 

* * * 

And so, that's an area that I believe we have failed 
miserably in, is holding people accountable for the 
actions of their people. 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 33 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Interviews of many present and former LAPD officers by the Commission 
staff yielded conclusions similar to those of Assistant Chiefs Brewer and 
Dotson. Senior and rank-and-file officers generally stated that a significant 
number of officers tended to use force excessively, that these problem officers 
were well known in their divisions, and that the Department did not do enough 
to control or discipline these officers. The officers interviewed felt that 
supervisors were not held accountable by their superiors for excessive use of 
force by their subordinates, and consequently supervisors paid little attention to 
the problem. 

This information from Commission interviews is supported by the results of 
a written survey of 960 randomly selected officers conducted by the LAPD in 
May 1991. Thirty percent of the 650 officers responding agreed - as does this 
Commission - that "the use of excessive force is a serious problem facing the 
Department." (Of the remainder, 53% disagreed and 17% had no opinion.) 

A significant percentage of officers in this survey agreed with the statement 
that "an officer is justified in administering physical punishment to a suspect 
who has committed a heinous crime" (4,9%) or "to a suspect with a bad or 
uncooperative attitude" (4.6%). (Another 11% of the officers had no opinion on 
the statements regarding physical punishment of suspects, while 84% 
disagreed.) That nearly 5% of LAPD officers would acknowledge in a written 
survey sponsored by the Department that an officer would be entitled to use 
"street justice" against suspects with a "bad or uncooperative attitude," and 
that 11% would have "no opinion," are evidence of a serious problem in attitude 
toward use of force among a significant group of LAPD officers. 

The LAPD has a number of tools, which are discussed in subsequent 
chapters of this Report, to promote and enforce its policy that only reasonable 
and necessary force be used by officers. There are rewards and incentives 
such as promotion, pay upgrades, and transfers to desirable assignments. 
Sanctions for misconduct (including termination) can be imposed through the 
discipline system. Officers can be reassigned or transferred by administrative 
order. Supervisors can monitor and counsel officers under their command. 
Officers can be trained in the proper use of force at the Police Academy and, 
perhaps more importantly, in the field. 

The Commission believes that the Department has not made sufficient 
efforts to use these tools effectively to address the significant number of officers 



34 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



who appear to be using force excessively and improperly. The leadership of 
the LAPD must send a much clearer and more effective message that excessive 
force will not be tolerated. That message must also make plain that officers 
and their supervisors will be evaluated to an important extent by how well they 
abide by and advance the Department's policy regarding the use of force. 

THE "PROBLEM GROUP" OF OFFICERS WITH HIGH CONCENTRATIONS 
OF COMPLAINTS, USES OF FORCE, AND SHOOTINGS 

A group of officers who appear to pose a much higher risk of using 
excessive force than other officers is readily identifiable in the computer data 
provided to the Commission by the Department. These data include: all 
personnel complaints filed against LAPD officers from January 1986 through 
December 1990; all use of force reports for the period January 1987 through 
March 1991; and all reports of officer involved shootings for the period January 
1986 through April 1991. 

The data may be described briefly as follows. Personnel complaints 
against officers, which are discussed in Chapter 9 in connection with the LAPD 
discipline system, are ruled by the Department to be "sustained" (meaning the 
officer is guilty of the misconduct alleged), "not sustained" (meaning that 
because the evidence is conflicting it cannot be determined whether the alleged 
misconduct occurred), "unfounded" (meaning that the alleged misconduct did 
not occur), or "exonerated" (meaning that the conduct did occur, but was 
justified under LAPD policy). 

The LAPD classifies complaints into categories such as "excessive force," 
"improper tactics," "conduct unbecoming an officer," "neglect of duty," 
"dishonesty," and others. (See Table 3-1.) Each complaint can, and often 
does, have multiple allegations in different categories. Complaints classified by 
the LAPD as "excessive force" or "improper tactics" typically involve allegations 
of improper or unnecessary force, and the Commission's analysis focused on 
complaints in these categories. Analysis of other categories of complaints, 
however, has shown that complaints in categories such as "neglect of duty," 
"conduct unbecoming an officer," and "dishonesty" may also be related to 
improper use of force. As discussed in Chapter 9, very few citizen allegations 
of excessive force (2.0%) were ruled sustained by the LAPD in the five years 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 35 



TABLE 3-1 



TYPES OF ALLEGATIONS IN COMPLAINTS BY PUBLIC 
AGAINST LAPD OFFICERS AS CLASSIFIED BY LAPD 

8,274 TOTAL ALLEGATIONS FROM JANUARY 1986 THROUGH DECEMBER 1990 



EXCESSIVE 
FORCE 24.7% 



DISHONESTY 2.8% 



DISCOURTESY 18.5% 



MISCELLANEOUS 
7.0% 



IMPROPER 
TACTICS 14 




FALSE IMPRISONMENT 1 



OTHER 1 2.7% 



NEGLECT OF DUTY 15.7% 



UNBECOMING 
CONDUCT 12.2% 



1 y nla ^ fu ' S ^. rch /l- 4 3%> Sexual (0.34%), Narcotics (0.31%), Discrimination (0.24%), Improper Relations (0.15%), 
Insubordination (0.11%), Alcohol (0.07%), Firearm Discharge (0.01%). J ' 

Source: LAPD Complaint Database. (Complaints made by members of the public against LAPD officers. Does 
not include complaints initiated by LAPD.) 



Report of the Independent Commission 



from 1986 through 1990. Only 4.8% of the public's improper tactics allegations 
were ruled sustained during this period. 

A use of force report must be completed whenever an UKPD officer uses 
force greater than "firm grip" compliance. The report identifies all officers 
involved in the use of force and usually is written by a sergeant based on the 
account of the officers involved in the use of force. The report includes 
information regarding the nature of the force used (for example, baton, firearm), 
any injury received by the individual, and other data, LAPD data indicate that 
use of force reports are filed in approximately 1% of arrests. The evidence 
available to the Commission indicates that officers using force do not always 
report it, but the extent of such underreporting is difficult to determine. 
Approximately 6,000 officers are identified as involved in a use of force in one 
or more use of force reports in the LAPD computer database of all reports 
made between January 1987 and March 1991. 

An officer involved shooting report is required to be filed every time an 
officer discharges a firearm, whether accidentally or intentionally, and whether 
or not anyone is hit or injured by the shot. 

When these data are sorted by officer serial number, the responses are 
remarkable and disturbing: 

• Complaints, Of approximately 1,800 officers 
against whom an allegation of excessive force 
or improper tactics was made from 1986 
through 1990, over 1,400 officers had only 
one or two allegations. But 183 officers had 
four or more allegata ^s, 44 had six or more, 
16 had eight or n -e, and one had 16 
allegations. The top 10% of officers ranked 
by number of excessive force or improper 
tactics allegations accounted for 27.5% of all 
such allegations. (See Table 3-2.) 

• Use of Force Reports. Of nearly 6,000 
officers identified as involved in a use of force 
in use of force reports from January 1987 
through March 1991, more than 4,000 had 
less than five reports each. But 83 officers 
had 20 or more reports each, The top 5% of 
officers ranked by number of reports 
accounted for more than 20% of all reports, 
and the top 10% accounted for 33%. (See 
Tables 3-3 and 3-4.) 



36 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



TABLE 3-2 



CONCENTRATION OF COMPLAINTS AGAINST 
LAPD OFFICERS FOR EXCESSIVE FORCE 
OR IMPROPER TACTICS 

JANUARY 1986 THROUGH DECEMBER 1990 




10th20th30ttl40th 50th 60th 7«h80th90th 10001 



Percentile (Each Bar represents approximately 180 Officers) 



• 1,802 officers received at least one allegation of excessive force or 
improper tactics during the period January 1986 through December 
1990. 

• Officers were ranked according to number of allegations per officer. 

• Allegations were concentrated in relatively few officers. 

Source: LAPD Complaint Database. 



TABLE 3-3 



USE OF FORCE REPORTS 

OFFICERS RANKED BY NUMBER OF USE OF FORCE REPORTS 
FROM JANUARY 1987 THROUGH MARCH 1991 




Number of Reports Per Officer 



Note: A use of force report generally lists more than one officer involved in 
the use of force reported. In this analysis, each listing of an officer in a use 
of force report was treated as a separate report. 

Source: LAPD Use of Force Database. 



TABLE 3-4 

CONCENTRATION OF LAPD OFFICERS 
LISTED IN USE OF FORCE REPORTS 

5,976 OFFICERS LISTED IN AT LEAST ONE USE OF FORCE 
REPORT FILED FROM JANUARY 1987 THROUGH MARCH 1991 




10th aoth 30th 40th 50th 60th 70th 80th 90th 100th 



Percentile (Each Bar represents approximately 598 Officers) 



Note: A use of force report generally lists more than one officer as involved 
in the use of force reported. In this analysis, each listing of an officer in a use 
of force report was treated as a separate report. 



Source: LAPD Use of Force Database. 



¥ 



TABLE 3-5 

COMPARISON OF "TOP 44" OFFICERS 
RECEIVING FORCE COMPLAINTS 
WITH ALL OFFICERS LISTED 
IN USE OF FORCE REPORTS 

AVERAGE PER OFFICER OF FORCE-RELATED COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS, 
OTHER COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS, AND USE OF FORCE REPORTS 



14-,/] " ^ '"Top 44" 




Allegations of Excessive Allegations other than Use of Force Reports 

Force or Improper Tactics Excessive Force or (Jan. 1987 - Mar. 1991) 

Listed in Complaints Improper Tactics 

(Jan. 1986 - Dec 1990) (Jan. 1986 - Dec. 1990) 



• "Top 44" officers are all officers with six or more allegations of excessive force or 
improper tactics in personnel complaints for the period January 1986 through 
December 1990. 

• The "Top 44" officers are compared with all officers identified in a use of force 
report as involved in a use of force for the period January 1987 through March 
1991. 



Source: LAPD Complaint and Use of Force Databases. 

i 

. _J 



Report of the Independent Commission 



• Shootings by Officers. Of 662 officers 
involved in any shooting from 1986 through 
April 1991, 19 officers were involved in three 
or more. 

Blending these data identifies even more troubling patterns. For the years 
covered by the database, 

• one officer had 13 allegations of excessive 
force and improper tactics, five other 
complaint allegations, 28 use of force reports, 
and one shooting; 

• another had six excessive force and improper 
tactics allegations, 19 other complaint 
allegations, 10 use of force reports, and three 
shootings; 

• another had seven excessive force and 
improper tactics allegations, seven other 
complaint allegations, 27 use of force reports, 
and one shooting; and 

• another had eight excessive force and 
improper tactics allegations, nine other 
complaint allegations, and 35 use of force 
reports. 

Extending the search beyond the LAPD computer data to LAPD personnel 
files and complaint investigations reveals that many of the officers with patterns 
of repetitive use of force from 1986 forward had similar patterns in earlier years. 
In one case, an officer (whose initial background investigation indicated he had 
a problem controlling his temper) was the subject of 19 personnel complaints, 
including at least three shootings and 1 1 complaints of excessive force, in his 
first 2-1/2 years with the LAPD. A City psychiatrist reported at that time that the 
officer's aggressive and violent tendencies were likely to continue or even 
increase. This prediction was borne out in the officer's remaining 17-1/2 years 
on the force, during which he accumulated an additional 43 complaint 
allegations, including 16 for excessive force or improper tactics, Another 20- 
year veteran retired after accumulating 19 personnel complaints, of which at 
least 13 were related to improper use of force. 

The data obtained by the Commission from the LAPD are generally 
consistent with those reported in a June 1991 Daily News study drawn from 
data for an earlier 5-1/2 year period. The Daily News reported that there were 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 37 



Report of the Independent Commission 



1,931 officers named in complaints of "excessive or unnecessary" force; 254 
officers were named in three or more such complaints and accounted for 30% 
of the complaints; and 47 officers had five or more complaints. 

To be sure, misconduct is not established merely by the fact that an officer 
has many use of force reports, repeated personnel complaints, or even several 
shootings. It may be argued that active officers assigned to high-crime areas or 
specialized duties will appropriately use force more often, and may generate 
more complaints against them, than the "average" officer. Yet, there are many 
"productive" officers in high-crime areas who do not accumulate complaints, 
shootings, and use of force reports in relatively large numbers. The extreme 
concentration of these data cannot be explained solely by officer assignments 
or arrest rates. 

While the precise size and identity of this problem group cannot be 
specified (at least without significant further investigation), its existence must be 
recognized and addressed. As Chief Gates and former Assistant Chief Brewer 
testified, the group must receive monitoring, counseling, and management 
attention by supervisors and command officers. For example, when asked 
what analysis the Department had done regarding the 5% of officers filing use 
of force reports who accounted for over 20% of reports filed, Chief Gates 
replied: 

If you had a build-up of that kind and not a proper 
audit and a careful review of it and follow-up, we 
would have been negligent. No question about it. 

Despite repeated requests by the Commission and a diligent search by the 
LAPD for any such audit or review of the concentration of use of force reports 
among officers, none was found and provided to the Commission. Nor did the 
Department have any overall analysis of the officers with multiple complaint 
histories involving excessive force (except for a not-yet-completed study begun 
after the Rodney King incident at the time the Commission was reviewing the 
officer complaint data). Many command officers and supervisors interviewed 
by the Commission staff were not even aware of the LAPD computer database 
from which they could obtain a list of the personnel complaints, use of force 
reports, and shooting data for any officer under their supervision. 

A prime example of inadequate management and supervision of officers 
with respect to the use of force is the highly publicized 39th and Dalton drug 



38 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



raid in August 1988. Eighty-eight officers conducting a search for drugs in four 
apartments in an African-American and Latino neighborhood were commanded 
only by a sergeant. The officers inflicted massive property damage on the 
apartments: walls and ceilings were demolished by battering rams; virtually all 
windows were smashed; sinks and toilets were torn away from pipes. LAPD 
investigators catalogued 127 separate acts of "vandalism." The City has paid 
over $3.4 million to settle property damage claims stemming from the raid, and 
further claims are pending. Three LAPD officers, including the senior officer (a 
captain) involved in the preparation for the raid, were charged with but 
acquitted of criminal vandalism; a fourth officer pleaded no contest to the 
vandalism charge. Internal LAPD reports found serious management failures in 
the planning and execution of the raid. One such report concluded that the 
officers involved "were led astray by poor supervision and management" and 
"generally understood" from the instructions they received that the homes were 
to be made "uninhabitable," The report noted that the highest ranking officer 
present during the raid "failed to take charge when there were obvious signs of 
misconduct occurring in his presence . . . [and] opted instead to leave the 
scene," 

Yet, as Assistant Chief Dotson testified, few of the officers in the chain of 
command have been held accountable for the 39th and Dalton raid. Moreover, 
many of the officers involved in the raid have subsequently been promoted: 20 
of the 42 officers at the police officer II (Pll) level were promoted to police officer 
III (Pill), and many of them are now serving as field training officers. Four of the 
Pills have been promoted to detective or sergeant, including the officer who 
was disciplined for making false statements in a search warrant affidavit. Four 
of the officers have been promoted twice since the raid. 

COMMISSION STUDY OF ONE GROUP OF OFFICERS WITH 
FREQUENT EXCESSIVE OR IMPROPER FORCE COMPLAINTS 

To look more closely at the LAPD f s management of one possible group of 

problem officers, the Commission staff identified from the LAPD database the 

44 officers with six or more allegations of excessive force or impr oper tactics f or 

the period 1986 through 1990. The staff then reviewed these officers' personnel 

files and the files of over 200 investigations by the LAPD of complaints against 

these officers alleging excessive force or improper tactics. 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 39 



Report of the Independent Commission 



The selection of this group of officers for the Commission's study is not 
meant to suggest that the potential "problem officers" are limited to this group. 
Indeed, scrutiny would be appropriate for the 5% (or approximately 300) 
officers in the 1987-1991 use of force report database who account for 20% of 
those use of force reports (see Table 3-4 above). An even larger group of 
officers would be identified by combining the databases containing personnel 
complaints, use of force reports, and officer involved shooting reports for recent 
years. Supervisors in the field, of course, have the benefit of first-hand 
experience with officers who may be causing problems in the use of force. 
There is no bright line defining this group, in the Commission's view. The 
discussion of the 44 officers selected here on the basis of six force-related 
complaints in five years is for purposes of illustration, not definition. 

Statistical Profile of the 44 Officers 

The LAPD computer database indicates that the use of force by officers in 
this group should have received careful management scrutiny. Nineteen of the 
44 are in the highest 1% of all officers ranked by a cumulative total of use of 
force reports, officer involved shooting reports, and personnel complaint 
allegations. Forty of the officers are in the top 5% of this group, and all 44 are 
in the top 10% of this group. 

The 44 officers were compared against all officers identified in the 
database as having been involved in a use of force for the period January 1987 
through March 1991. The results are shown in accompanying Table 3-5. The 
top 44 received an average of 7.6 allegations of excessive force or improper 
tactics compared to 0.6 for all officers reported to be using force; the top 44 
received an average of 6.5 personnel complaint allegations of all other types, 
compared to an average of 1 .9 for all officers reported to be using force; and 
the top 44 were involved in an average of 13 uses of force compared to 4.2 for 
all officers reported to be using force. 

Review of Personnel Files and Performance Evaluations of the 44 Officers 

The evaluation of LAPD officers' performance is recorded in "Performance 
Evaluation Reports." After completing a probationary period, each officer is 
evaluated every six months on this form, which presents multiple categories for 
rating and comment. The rating categories, as to which each officer is judged 



40 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



as "Strong," "Competent," or "Needs Improvement," include, among others, 
"quality of public contacts," "performance under stress," "communication 
skills," and "judgment and common sense." The form also contains sections 
that invite narrative comments on the officer's performance and that require 
insertion of the number of disciplinary actions involving the officer during the six 
month period under review. This form is used, for example, in making 
promotion decisions and considering officers' requests for desirable 
assignments in particular geographic areas or specialized units. 

As a general matter, the performance evaluation reports on these 44 
officers were very positive. The reports tended to document every 
complimentary comment, including every formal commendation, received by 
the officer. They were also uniformly optimistic about the officer's progress and 
prospects on the force. However, also as a general proposition, the 
performance evaluations failed to give an accurate picture of the disciplinary 
histories of these officers. They commonly did not record sustained complaints 
and failed to comment on the substance and significance of such complaints. 
The reports did not mention that an officer was the subject of one or more not 
sustained or unfounded complaints during the period under review. As a 
result, the picture conveyed in an officer's personnel evaluation file was often 

incomplete and commonly at odds with contemporaneous comments 
appearing in the officer's sustained and not sustained complaint files. 

Supervisors preparing these reports are responsible for informing 
themselves about the "quality of public contacts" of officers under their 
command, the pattern of force-related complaints against these officers, and 
similar matters. Personnel complaint information is available to the supervisor 
preparing the evaluation report. A summary card listing all complaints against 
the officer, whether or not sustained, is maintained in the division files, and the 
officer's personnel file maintained in LAPD headquarters contains detailed 
information regarding sustained complaints. A list of complaints, their 
dispositions, and other information is available from the LAPD computer 
database (although the existence of the database apparently is not widely 
known within the LAPD). Investigation files on not sustained complaints (as 
opposed to a listing of not sustained complaints), however, are generally not 
available to the supervisor. 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 41 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Many performance evaluations mentioned the absence of personnel 
complaints as a ground for concluding that a particular officer was doing well. 
In some instances, the statement was simply wrong. The converse generally 
was not mentioned in performance evaluations: that is, the presence of 

personnel complaints, and in particular a pattern of not sustained complaints, 

was not used as a ground for concluding that further inquiry concerning a 
particular officer's progress was warranted. 

With a few exceptions, supervisors, in making assignments, did not appear 
to take account of multiple sustained and not sustained complaints involving 
excessive force or improper tactics. In that minority of cases in which such 
facts seemed to be taken into account, the decision to reassign the officer often 
came too late to prevent a serious incident of misconduct, or the officer was 
reassigned to a job in which his apparent problems created further risk. In 
addition, there was no evidence to suggest that supervisors considered an 
officer's multiple complaint history in deciding with whom the officer should be 
paired on assignment and, more importantly, whether the officer was a suitable 
candidate for training probationers. 

Several examples will illustrate these general observations. 

Officer A joined the LAPD in 1982. In late 1986 and 1987, he received six 
complaints for excessive force or improper tactics. Two of the complaints had 
charges sustained, including one allegation of dragging a cordcuffed arrestee 
down the hallway of the police station by his feet. Four additional complaints 
concerning excessive force on arrestees were not sustained. One of the 
investigation reports on one of the later not sustained complaints nonetheless 
notes that the complaint was the officer's 

fifth complaint during the last 18 months involving 
excessive force and/or improper tactics .... [H]e is 
either very unfortunate in his propensity to be the 
object of personnel complaints, or he possesses 
an abrasive demeanor with the public. 

In contrast, Officer A's performance reviews for the same period make no 
mention of the sustained or unsustained reports: the performance evaluation 
prepared in the Spring 1987 report speaks of the officer's consistent high 
quality and notes in particular that "his citizen contacts reflect a high 
professional quality, mixed with a truly caring attitude." The Fall 1987 report is 
similarly glowing, noting, among other things, that Officer A "projects an image 



42 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



of impartiality, fairness and professionalism in his contacts with the public 

In the Spring 1988 evaluation report, it is recommended that Officer A be 

promoted to a training officer position, 

In 1989, Officer A received two more complaints for excessive force, which 
the Department ruled not sustained. One of the investigation reports notes that 
the "allegations in this complaint are serious" and, if true, the officer involved 
needs "to promptly redirect [his] behavior." The complaint is seen as "a 
disturbing sign." The report concludes that Officer A should be confronted in 
his interview with the possibility that excessive force was used and should be 
"encouraged to call a supervisor immediately when presented with an 
aggravated incident. He can also expect to be supervised more closely than in 
the past" 

His performance review for the same period, however, makes no reference 
to the counseling, the complaints, or the possibility that Officer A used 
excessive force. The report simply states that Officer A "continues to perform 
in an outstanding manner." 

Officer B has been with the LAPD for many years. In 1982, he was 
accused of striking an arrestee on the back of the neck with the butt of a 

shotgun for no apparent reason while the arrestee was kneeling and 

handcuffed. A charge of improper tactics was sustained. His performance 
evaluation for the same period does not discuss the sustained complaint 
Rather, the evaluation states that Officer B's 

most outstanding asset is his outstanding 
personality and easy going manner which he uses 
to his best advantage in the field. His cairn and 
collective [sic] approach while dealing with the 
general public is indicative of his lack of personnel 
complaints during this rating period. 

His subsequent performance review similarly does not take account of the 
sustained charge of hitting a handcuffed arrestee on the back of the head with a 
shotgun. That review concludes that 

Officer [B] has been time tested in a myriad of field 
situations requiring quick thinking, self confidence 
and a high tolerance to stress. He always comes 
through with flying colors. There is nothing in 
patrol work that Officer [B] cannot handle with the 
utmost competence and expertise .... His stable 
personality and mature perspective toward police 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 43 



Report of the Independent Commission 



work help develop his probationers with . . . a 
conscious avoidance of overreaction. 

In April 1988, Officer B was accused of several counts of excessive force 
against a 13 year old juvenile. The charges were held not sustained, although it 
was noted in the investigation report that Officer B had seven sustained 
complaints during his tenure with the LAPD. His performance evaluation for the 
period makes no mention of the seven sustained complaints or the unsustained 
complaint of April 1988, noting that Officer B "has a low-key personality and 
can make decisions based upon the facts at hand without becoming personally 
involved/' 

In 1989, Officer B was the subject of another complaint of excessive force 
and improper tactics alleging that an arrestee was thrown from a chair and 
kicked in the back and on the side of his head while handcuffed and lying on 
his stomach. The charges were held not sustained despite corroborative 
medical evidence and testimony. One count of failure to notify a supervisor 
and file a use of force report was sustained, however, and the officer was 
admonished. 

The officer's last performance review was in Spring 1991. Despite seven 
sustained complaints over the course of his career and a string of unsustained 
complaints for excessive force, including three such complaints between 1987 
and 1989, the officer continued to be praised highly: "[h]is contacts with the 
public are always professional and positive and his attitude with the citizens is 
one of concern." The report concludes that the officer is "currently preparing 
himself for the upcoming sergeant's exam. He would be an asset to the ranks 
of sergeant." 

The file on Officer C presented a number of problems. The first is that 
crucial performance evaluations were missing « a difficulty encountered in 
many of the personnel files reviewed. In 1987, a departmental complaint was 
initiated alleging that Officer C detained four African-American males for 
questioning and unnecessarily struck two of the suspects several times on their 
backs and sides while they were kneeling with their hands behind their heads. 
There were numerous witnesses to the incident, including local businessmen, 
neighbors, and a passing television crew. LAPD officers reviewing this conduct 
described it as "immature, unprofessional, and unethical," "unexcusable," 
"bordering] on being criminal in nature," and indicated that "[sjeveral persons 



44 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



who testified [at Officer C's disciplinary hearing] obviously now believe that the 
Los Angeles Department and its officers resort to acts of brutality." A 10-day 
suspension was imposed. There were no performance reviews contained in 
the personnel file covering the periods during which this incident occurred or 
was investigated. 

Thereafter, in 1989, Officer C had charges sustained of kicking an arrestee 
in his midsection after Officer C told the arrestee to exit his car, get on his 
knees, and place his hands on his head. The investigation file regarding this 
complaint reflects that the officer had been the subject of two prior allegations 
of excessive force that were not sustained and one charge that was sustained 
(described above). The report concludes that the officer appears not to have 
been deterred from "his pattern of gratuitous violence." "The instant complaint, 
coming as it does on the heels of another serious use of excessive force . . , 
calls to question [the officer's] abilities to continue to perform his duties as a 
police officer in a manner consistent with this Department's requirements." 

Officer C's performance review for this period makes no mention of this 
incident or the 1987 incident, even though the officer was suspended during 
this review period because of the 1987 incident. Rather, the evaluation 
concludes that Officer C "usually conducts himself in a manner that inspires 
respect for the law and instills public confidence," "has a positive effect on 
morale and works well with his peers," and "is able to communicate clearly with 
other officers, supervisors and citizens in need of police service." The 
subsequent evaluation form for the period March - August 1989 is also missing 
from the file. 

Approximately six months after the last incident, another excessive force 
complaint was sustained against this officer for kicking a suspect after 
removing him from a police car. The commanding officer who reviewed the 
investigation of this complaint discussed Officer C's prior history of complaints 
and concluded that 

in each case, the alleged misconduct occurred in a 
controlled situation where the complainant was 
restrained and presented no immediate threat .... 
The use of excessive force is a symptom displayed 
by officers which is indicative, among other things, 
of extremely poor judgment. [Officer C] has 
displayed this significant deficiency on prior 
occasions and displayed it in abundance on the 
evening of this incident. 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 45 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Officer C's commanding officer concluded that his employment should be 
terminated, and it was noted that he had been advised by his commanding 
officer following his last suspension that any recurrent misconduct would likely 
result in his termination. It did not, however: the officer instead received a 10- 
day suspension. His performance evaluation for the period makes only 
passing mention of the incident, and his most recent evaluation indicates that 
the officer remains on the force and is generally complimented for his 
continuing good work. 

Officer D, who was removed from the force in 1988, had a particularly 
troubling seven-year career with the LAPD. His file contains references to at 
least nine sustained complaints and eight unsustained complaints for excessive 
force or improper tactics between December 1986 and September 1987. There 
are evaluation forms missing from this file. Indeed, there is only one semi- 
annual performance evaluation report in the personnel file of this officer for the 
period September 1986 through December 1988. That report describes Officer 
D as "strong" in the categories of "judgement and common sense" and 
"reliability." The report concludes that the officer has been observed to be 

eager, enthusiastic and motivated in the 
performance of his duties. In fact, this supervisor 
normally utilizes [Officer D] in assignments where it 
is critical for something to be done right the first 
time. 

During the period covered by this performance evaluation, the officer was 
admonished for neglect of duty and had a complaint filed against him that 
resulted in a 22-day suspension for neglect of duty/unbecoming conduct. 
There were also three unsustained complaints during the evaluation period. 
None of these is mentioned in the performance evaluation. 

The commanding officer who signed this glowing performance review on 
October 27, 1987, also signed on the same day a notice identifying the 22 days 
for which the officer would be suspended for neglect of duty and unbecoming 
conduct. 

During the same period of time, it was noted in a personnel complaint that 
this officer was paired with another officer who had a lengthy history of abusive 
behavior: 

Both [officers] have a lengthy record of similar 
complaints. Primarily they all involve aggravated 



46 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



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circumstances such as a chase resulting in a field 
detention wherein the arrestee alleges he was 
struck or kicked. 

Officer D was permitted to serve in a training capacity from 1985 through 
the end of his career, notwithstanding the string of sustained and unsustained 
complaints. Officer D was finally removed from the force after he, while on 
duty, removed a prisoner in custody from the holding tank, took him to a 
secluded location on three occasions, and beat him. He was also found to 
have engaged in a cover-up of the incident and to have advised a probationary 
officer working with him "not to worry about it." 

In several instances, comments on probation reports disclosed tendencies 
that later became severe problems but appear not to have been systematically 
tracked after the probationary period. For example, it was noted in 
investigations for excessive use of force that Officer E had a "propensity for 
attracting personnel complaints" and had not yet "learned the techniques of 
appeasing the public." It was further noted in another investigation that his 
demeanor was such as seemingly to "encourage his field contact to complain." 
None of these observations was noted in Officer E's positive performance 
evaluations. 

If the probationary reports had been checked, however, his supervisors 
might have noted that Officer E had been criticized for "a tendency to be rude 
to victims" and "a tendency to become rude to the public" and to exhibit "an 
unprofessional manner at times." He was also observed to become "very 
defensive" when told he made a mistake, to be "quick to fabricate excuses for 
his actions," and "to get angry with the training officers during counseling." 

Although under the present discipline system (see Chapter 9) a not 
sustained complaint may not properly be used as a basis for disciplining an 
officer, information developed in investigations of such complaints can and 
should be used to educate superior officers as to the strengths and 
weaknesses of officers under their command and to promote, assign, 
supervise, and counsel them accordingly. The performance evaluation files of 
these officers reflect that this has not been adequately done. 

The LAPD guidelines for preparation of the performance evaluation reports 
contain several provisions that may limit a supervisor's ability to discuss an 
officer's complaint history in the evaluation. Under the guidelines, the 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 47 



Report of the Independent Commission 



supervisor is to comment on personally observed activities of the officer during 
the six-month rating period and to discuss, in connection with discipline, 
sustained complaints that occurred during the evaluation period. However, the 
evaluator is permitted to comment on poor judgment not amounting to 
misconduct (i.e., not resulting in a sustained complaint) that may have 
precipitated the complaint. Whether the inadequacies in these performance 
evaluations resulted from LAPD policy regarding preparation of the report or 
from failures in the implementation of that policy (or some combination of the 
two), decisive action is necessary to correct the management failures reflected 
in these files. 

DISCUSSION OF BEATINGS, SHOOTINGS, AND PURSUITS 
IN PATROL CAR COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS 

The existence of a significant number of officers with an unacceptable and 

improper attitude regarding the use of force is supported by the Commission's 

review of computer messages sent from patrol cars throughout the City. Those 

messages also evidence the LAPD's management problem in the area of use of 

force. 

The LAPD's Mobile Digital Terminal ("MOT") system is a sophisticated 
communications network through which patrol cars are linked with 
headquarters and each other by computer terminals in each car. Officers 
transmit messages by typing them into the terminal in their patrol car and 
receive messages on the terminal screen. The MDT network offers the 
advantage that it cannot be monitored by civilians as can police radio 
communications. Under LAPD policy and regulations, the MDT 
communications are subject to monitoring by supervisors, who can read 
messages coming across their terminal screens, and auditing by the LAPD 
Communications Division, which can review printouts of messages stored on 
computer disks. 

Given public concern over the MDT messages from officers involved in the 
King incident, the Commission staff reviewed all MDT communications between 
patrol cars for approximately 180 days selected over the 16-month period from 
November 1989 through February 1991. (A chronological listing of 
approximately 700 MDT messages selected from those reviewed by the 
Commission staff, and an explanation of the operation of the MDT system, are 



48 Chapter 3; The Problem of Excessive Force 



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separately available from the Commission offices.) Although the vast majority 
of messages reviewed appeared to be routine police communications, there 
were a number of messages, similar to those publicized after the King incident, 
in which officers from all geographical areas of the City talked about beating 
suspects and other members of the public; 

• "Capture him, beat him and treat him like dirt 



"Sounds like a job for the dynamic duo . . . 
after I beat him what doo I book him for and 
do I have to do a use of force [report]" 



• "I was out of vehicle, whippin on a couple of 
em, how r u." 

"Sgt Brutality." 



• "Wakeup ... the susp on our perimeter got 
caught, but he got beat by a BB bat" 

"Tell [an officer] to use a baton next time" 



• "Gary,, if you see [name omitted],, grab him 
and beat him„he has a fel warr" 

"Rgr will destroy him" 



♦ "No problemmm . . . we R hungry ... we got 
a little physical w/ a [name omitted] on 
Colombus ... it was fun . . . we had to teach 
him a little respect ... for the police . . . 
hahahahaha ... we had fun . . . no stick time 
though." 



• "Did U arrest the 85yr old lady of just beat her 
up." 

"We just slapped her around a bit . . . she/s 
getting m/t [medical treatment] right now." 



• "We prond him straight out of his jaguar....." 
"He is crying like a baby," 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 49 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"Did U educate him/' 

"Take 1 handcuff off and slap him around," 

"He is crying to hard and there is 4 detectives 
here." 

"Well dont seatbelt him in and slam on the 
brakes a couple times on the way to the 
sta.... M 



• "I hope there is enough units to set up a pow- 
wow around the susp so he can get a good 
spanking and nobody c it " 

"U mean susps . . .cut to pieces " 



• "l,m going to kill this guy," 

"Haaaaaa..you,re so bad..u cutie u....l,ll be 
back l,m going to do it" 

"I obviously didn,t beat this guy enough. He 
got right back up and is still being 
obnoxious." 

• "My partner wants to know if you beat those 
guys..." 

"Yes..." 



• "Well start with beat the drunk and go from 
there gotta go now talk to u later," 



# "Juvi says U hit him with flashlight ... I didn't 
see U do that" 

"Smile. I'm against viol" 



• "I would just beat and release that fat slob in 
the red suit named . . . Homey Claus . . . and I 
heard reindeers real good eating . . . hohoho 
mofo ..." 



• "U missed out bro, we backed 2X53 [a patrol 
unit] on a poss shots fired from veh. some of 



50 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the independent Commission 



the susps had some big boot marks on their 
heads, once they were in custody." 



• "The last load went to a family of illegals living 
in the brush along side the pas frwy ... I 
thought the woman was going to cry ... so I 
hit her with my baton" 



• "What, did U beat another guy 
"Let's discuss it later" 



• "We're sitting on a C37 that was dropped off 
by two Mexicans . . . going to sit on it for a 
while." 

"R U going to beat em up like U did the last 
one" 



♦ "[Name omitted] who did u beat up this time" 



• "[Name omitted] wanna go over to Delano 
later and hand out some street justice ..." 



• "Ti was fun.. but no chance to bust 
heads..sorry" 

"Oh well.... may be next time" 



• "So are you going to take that call" 
"After the beating" 



• "Did you really break his arm" 

"Along with other misc parts" 

"We have his oriental buddy for 11364" 

"Great . , . make sure u burn him if he's on 
felony probation ... by the way does he need 
any breaking ..." 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 51 



Report of the Independent Commission 



• "They give me a stick they give mee a gun 
they pay me 50G:s to have some fun" 

In a number of messages, officers showed their awareness of Department 
monitoring procedures: 

• "Cease fire ... we r being monitored" 



• "Can't say on MDT . . . but MX [medical 
treatment] was needed." 

"I fig . . . it was ugly ... oh well . , . U know 
what happens ... my guy is gonna need it 
too if he gives me a hassle . . ." 



• "This is the only job I've ever had where U 
don't have freedom of speech. As U can tell 
I'm aggravated but still smiling and glad to 
serve and protect. The last sentence was put 
in just in case they're monitoring. Ha ha" 

Officers also used the MDT system to express their attitudes regarding 
shooting suspects: 

• "Go get em my-man, and shoot him twice for 
me" 



• "Looking to end 1990 with a good shotgun 
killing ruggg" 

"Raa a full moon and a full gun make for 
rewards from god" 

"A full moon and a full gun makes for a night 
of fun" 

"Everybody you kill in the line of duty 
becomes a slave in the afterlife" 

"Then U will have a lot of slaves . . 



• "I shoulda shoot 'em huh, I missed another 
chance dammmmmm" 

"I am getting soft" 



52 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



• "We got a burglar tonight, who was cold 6c 
and had nine thousand dollars warrant . . . 
you want any help just holler" 

"No: I'm just going to shoot him:" 

• "If I find it itl be ois [officer-involved shooting] 
time. God I wanna to kill something oh so 
bad point to ooi 361." 

The MDT transmissions make clear that some officers relish the excitement 
of a pursuit, and some view a pursuit as an opportunity for violence against the 
running suspect. One patrol unit advised another to "drop back a block before 
you light him up [referring to the patrol car light and siren], we want a good 
run." Other MDT messages expressing an eagerness for pursuits included: 

• "U don't call what u do really work, last time u 
spoke u were in foot pursuit, C/6 [Code 6]" 

"Caught the sob too . . . had to beat him on 
the head and pull him off his movig m/c . . . 
when are we getting together foray brewski" 



"Im gonna bk my pursuit susp. Hope he gets 
ugly so I can vent my hate. Hrr hrr. . .A-H" 



n 0k whens my next pursuit????" 



'If U get into anything, make it a pursuit okay 
. J love pursuits ..." 



"Don't even try it, it was nice and quiet, don't 
start any mess/hahahaha" 

"Just for that we're gonna get into a pursuit 
with C-6 Charles susps . . 



'OK its ur turn for a pursuit ... I love them" 



• "Well . . . find me a pursuit . . , make this an 
exciting nite . . , jjeezz I req to work here cuz 
it's busy . . . and nothing happens" 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 53 



Report of the Independent Commission 



• "Getting energy for the foot pursuit and 
shooting . . . I won't lose the susp" 

• "Roger, thinks I'm hoping for a great busy 
night ... I love pursuits" 

• "Standby we feel pretty good, we may have 
another foot pursuit here soon,, ha ha ha ha" 

• "U think you can handle Sgts huh, haaa out 
Lts can't even handle us why do u think you 
can. An let me know sometime 1*11 take u out 
busy nites are best Its been fun lately. 
Almost shot a dummy, had a good fight an 
the pursuit. Ha sick huh" 

MDT messages can be monitored by a field supervisor, who has the 
capability of reading on his or her MDT screen the messages being sent 
between two other units. A commanding officer told the Commission staff, 
however, that such contemporaneous monitoring "was not routinely done." 
The Department acknowledges that, in addition to contemporaneous 
monitoring, it stores MDT transmissions in a database and has the ability to 
review them and to audit officers' use of the system for improper messages. 
Prior to the King incident, however, there was no requirement that area 
commanders regularly audit the MDT printouts. If a complaint was made 
against an officer, the Department sometimes would review relevant MDT 
transcripts as part of its investigation, but no regular review of transcripts was 
conducted. In short, the MDT materials reviewed by the Commission's staff 
were equally available to the Department, but no effort was made to review 
them. Only when the MDT messages following the Rodney King incident 
inflamed the public did the Department take action to monitor and audit the 
system. It then found, by its own count, 260 patently offensive comments over 
a one-month period. 

That officers would feel free to type such messages as those listed above 
into the Department's official computer communications channel, knowing that 
the communications were subject to monitoring, is, in the Commission's view, 
evidence of a serious problem with respect to excessive force in the LAPD. The 
apparent confidence of these officers that nothing would be done about their 



54 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



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inflammatory statements suggests a tolerance within the LAPD of attitudes 
condoning violence against the public. 

FORCE-RELATED CIVIL LITIGATION INVOLVING LAPD OFFICERS 

Before and since the King incident, lawsuits alleging improper use of force 
by LAPD officers have been a source of public concern. Large settlements and 
jury verdicts frequently have been in the headlines. Questions have been 
raised regarding how effectively the LAPD investigates and disciplines the 
officers who are involved in conduct for which the City pays millions of dollars 
every year, 

The Commission staff reviewed the files of all 83 cases of alleged 
excessive or improper force by LAPD officers that resulted in a settlement or 
judgment of more than $15,000 during the five-year period 1986 through 1990. 
Based on the evidence examined in this review, a majority of the cases 
appeared to involve clear and often egregious misconduct resulting in serious 
injury or death to victims, although some of the cases involved accidental or 
negligent conduct. The LAPD's investigation of these 83 cases was flawed in 
many respects, and discipline against the officers involved was frequently light 
or nonexistent. Moreover, the LAPD does not have adequate procedures in 
place to review or learn from the results of this litigation. 

Citizen Claims and Civil Litigation Involving the Use of Force 
Claims 

From 1986 through 1990, members of the public filed over 2,500 
claims alleging personal injury or property damage resulting from the use of 
force by LAPD officers. Not all claims were pursued formally in court, but filing 
such a claim is prerequisite to a lawsuit. Most claims are routinely denied by 
the City, largely because of inadequate resources to investigate claims. 

Claims alleging excessive use of force represented the majority of all 
claims filed against the LAPD (excluding claims arising from traffic incidents). 
During this five-year period, members of the public filed 3,716 claims with the 
City for non-traffic related incidents involving the LAPD. Over two-thirds of 
these claims involved allegations of excessive use of force against police 
officers. Although the total number of non-traffic related claims declined 
consistently from 1986 to 1990, the proportion of excessive force claims 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 55 



Report of the Independent Commission 



remained constant. Approximately one-third of the excessive force claims were 
eventually litigated. Assault and battery was the single largest category of 
allegations, constituting over 25% of the total allegations in all non-traffic related 
claims against the LAPD. 

Civil Litigation 

From 1986 through 1990, the City paid in excess of $20 million in 
judgments, settlements, and jury verdicts in over 300 lawsuits against LAPD 
officers alleging excessive use of force. This amount does not include the cost 
of defending these suits. Excessive force cases accounted for nearly 85% (93% 
in 1990) of the total amount of damages and settlements the City incurred in 
non-traffic related police litigation during this period. As with the citizen claims 
discussed above, assault and battery was the single largest category of 
allegations in all non-traffic related police litigation. 

Physical beatings were the most common type of excessive force at 
issue. Physical abuse by baton, punches, kicks, and other types of beatings 
accounted for over half of the excessive force allegations. Injury or death by 
gunshot was significant, representing 22% of the allegations. Nearly a quarter of 
the cases involved a pursuit, either by automobile or foot, resulting in a variety 
of injuries once the arrestee was apprehended. Although shootings were the 
most common use of force at issue at the end of a pursuit, baton beatings were 
a close second. The pursuit cases accounted for approximately $3.7 million in 
settlements or judgments. In 42% of the cases, the officers used force after the 
suspect was physically subdued or in custody. The most common setting in 
these cases was the basic arrest. In 60% of these cases, the officers 1 use of 
force in arresting suspects, without any pursuit, resulted in injury or death. 

Analysis of LAPD Investigation and Discipline 
in Cases Costing the City More than $15,000 

In addition to reviewing the litigation files of all 83 excessive force cases 

resulting in settlements or judgments of more than $15,000, the Commission 

staff reviewed all investigation files made available by the LAPD and personnel 

files of the officers involved in the incidents (excluding the personnel files for the 

officers involved in the 39th and Dalton litigation). 



56 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



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The LAPD's Internal Affairs Division ('IAD") investigated 23 out of the 83 
incidents. Fifty-two of the incidents were investigated by either the Robbery- 
Homicide Division (for shootings) or the division where the officer was deployed 
at the time of the incident. Fourteen incidents were not investigated at all by the 
LAPD, (The total number of investigations and uninvestigated incidents 
exceeds the number of incidents due to multiple investigations in certain 
cases.) Only 29% of the investigations resulted in at least one allegation 
sustained against an officer for excessive use of force or improper tactics. 
Eleven officers were involved in two incidents each. 

The LAPD disciplined only 21% of the officers investigated in the 83 
incidents. The majority (61%) of the officers involved in the investigated 
incidents received no discipline. (For 18% of the officers investigated, it could 
not be determined whether they received discipline.) Of the officers who were 
disciplined, nearly half were not suspended or terminated, but instead received 
admonishments or training. The great majority of those suspended (80%) were 
suspended for 22 days or less. Only three officers, 6% of those investigated, 
were terminated. 

The majority of the officers (84%) received overall positive ratings in their 
personnel performance evaluations (the data for 8% was unavailable) and 42% 
of the officers have been promoted since the date of the incident (promotion 
data for 22% were unavailable). 

Specific Cases and the Underlying LAPD Investigations 

We summarize briefly below a few of the troublesome cases involving 
excessive force by LAPD officers and the LAPD discipline, if any, imposed on 
the officers involved. 

Murrales v. City of Los Angeles 

Luis Milton Murrales, a 24-year old Latino man, lost the sight in his 
right eye when LAPD officers beat him at the end of a pursuit in April 1988. Two 
LAPD officers saw Murrales commit a traffic violation and began a pursuit that 
ended when Murrales' car collided with another pursuing police car. Murrales 
tried to run, but several LAPD officers found him hiding under a stairwell and 
ordered him out. Murrales claimed that, once he emerged from the stairwell, 
one officer struck him with a baton, and that after he fell to the ground, other 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 57 



Report of the Independent Commission 



officers joined in beating and kicking his face and body. After he was taken to 
Rampart Station, the officers allegedly continued the beating and threatened to 
kill him. Although none of the 28 LAPD officers involved in the incident 
corroborated Murrales' version, several did admit to striking Murrales on his 
shoulders, head, and arms, but only after Murrales had allegedly swung his 
gym bag at the officers. Medical records of the loss of his sight, however, 
supported Murrales 1 account. The City settled the case for $177,500. 

Describing the incident, the commanding officer acknowledged that a 
"lynch mob" mentality appeared to have existed once Murrales fled the scene 
on foot. However, after an LAPD investigation, no allegations were sustained 
against the officers involved. Four officers who used force on Murrales had 
similar prior incidents. 

Alfred Johnson v. City of Los Angeles 

In a 1981 altercation with LAPD officers, Johnson, an African- 
American, apparently resisted arrest while under the influence of PCP. The 
officers placed handcuffs and leg restraints on him. Johnson alleged that the 
officers then removed the back seat of the car and put Johnson over the drive 
shaft. An officer then placed the seat on top of Johnson and rode to the station 
on top of the seat. The officers denied ever placing Johnson on the drive shaft. 
Medical records indicate that after the arrest, Johnson had large third degree 
burns requiring skin grafts. Johnson received a $28,500 settlement. There was 
no LAPD investigation, and no officer involved in the incident received any 
discipline. 

Bernal v. City of Los Angeles 

Michael Bernal, a white male, lost two teeth and suffered multiple 
concussions resulting in permanent brain damage when several officers beat 
him in a holding cell in May 1981. Bernal had been arrested for outstanding 
traffic warrants. The officers claimed Bernal became belligerent when ordered 
to carry a mattress to a cell. When Bernal brushed the mattress against him, an 
officer placed Bernal in a chokehold and brought Bernal to the ground with the 
help of two other officers. The officers allegedly punched Bernal over 15 times 
in the face, kicked him in the groin, and slammed his head against the floor. 



58 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



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The officers denied ever striking Bernal. The City Attorney recommended 
settling the case for $300,000. 

The IAD interviewed Bernal, the prisoners who witnessed the 
incident, two sergeants on duty at the time of the incident, and the three officers 
involved in the incident. The counts of excessive force, discourtesy to a 
prisoner, and abusive language were sustained. The LAPD suspended two 
officers for five and 10 days respectively. One of the officers received seven 
complaints between January 1986 and December 1990, The other officer had 
12 complaints filed against him during that period. 

De La Cruz, et al. v. City of Los Angeles 

Two officers observed two young Latino men in a high-crime area. 
The officers suspected that the individuals were gang members involved in a 
burglary. The officers ordered the individuals to stand against a fence with their 
hands up. Jose Sanchez, a relative of the two young men, approached the 
officers and demanded an explanation. The officers ordered Sanchez to take 
his hands out of his pockets. Sanchez refused because he claimed he was 
doing nothing wrong and was on his own property. Fearing a concealed 
weapon, the officers grabbed Sanchez, shook him, and pushed him into the 
fence. When other family members attempted to intervene, one of the officers 
swung his baton at the group. The officer contended that someone tugged at 
his holster. One of the baton blows struck a pregnant woman in the stomach. 
Sanchez claimed that on the ride to the station, the officer struck him again with 
a baton. A jury returned a verdict for compensatory damages of $160,000 in 
favor of the seven plaintiffs involved in the incident. 

The LAPD did not investigate the use of force in this incident, and 
consequently the officers received no discipline. During the six-month period 
immediately following the incident, one of the two officers was promoted to Pill 
and received excellent evaluations. Between January 1987 and March 1991, 
the same officer generated 23 use of force reports. 

Abel Romero v. City of Los Angeles 

In a September 1984 incident, the LAPD put out a call that a van 
involved in a homicide was seen near Fifth and Main. The call failed to mention 
that the suspects were young African-American gang members. The police 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 59 



Report of the Independent Commission 



responded to the call by stopping Abel Romero in his van. Romero is a 
middle-aged Latino man who speaks little English and has no criminal history. 
The officers ordered Romero, only in English, to exit the van and kneel on the 
sidewalk. Romero apparently had difficulty understanding the orders, but in an 
attempt to cooperate, he exited the van with his hands over his head. Romero 
knelt down, then stood up and sat down. Feeling that Romero was willfully 
failing to comply, an officer kicked Romero from behind, pushed him on the 
sidewalk, and then placed his knee in Romero's back to achieve a rear wrist 
lock. Romero suffered strained wrists, a bruised upper back and ribs, and 
profusely bleeding facial cuts. Romero stated that his face was slammed into 
the sidewalk with such force that he momentarily lost consciousness. When the 
officers realized the mistake, they released Romero at the scene. The City 
Attorney's office recommended settlement for $30,000. 

The only investigation by the LAPD was by the supervising officer, 
who prepared a use of force report. The evidence indicated that the language 
barrier created the misperception that Romero refused to cooperate. One of 
the officers admitted that Romero seemed to do his best to cooperate. 
Nevertheless, the supervising officer found the use of force to be in policy, No 
officer received any discipline. 

Civil Litigation As a Management Problem 

Chief Gates testified that the LAPD lacks effective procedures or 
"feedback" for reviewing the results of civil litigation involving LAPD officers. 
The City Attorney essentially agreed. The delays and difficulty encountered by 
the LAPD in providing the Commission with information regarding the 
investigation and discipline of officers involved in these incidents confirms the 
lack of management attention to this aspect of the use of force problem in the 
Department. Given the millions of dollars paid by the City as a result of use of 
force by LAPD officers, and the egregious conduct revealed in some of the 
lawsuits, the Department must establish procedures to monitor the results of 
civil litigation and make use of the information obtained. 

This is not to suggest that merely because a lawsuit alleging improper 
force is settled on the recommendation of the City Attorney, or a jury verdict is 
returned for the plaintiff, one should conclude that the officer involved is guilty 
of misconduct or that the LAPD should discipline the officer. A sympathetic 



60 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



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plaintiff may prevail, or lawyers may advise settlement, even if the officer's 
conduct was in policy, Moreover, the present one-year limitation under the City 
Charter on conduct that may be used for disciplinary suspension or termination 
of officers (a limitation that the Commission recommends in Chapter 9 be 
removed) may prevent disciplinary action based on evidence obtained in civil 
litigation relating to incidents years in the past. 

The complexities and uncertainties of civil litigation, however, cannot justify 
the apparent inattention on the part of the LAPD to instances of serious 
misconduct. Where suspension of an officer is not possible under the present 
rules, an official reprimand may still be issued to an officer. The LAPD may use 
additional counseling, training, and supervision for officers whose problems 
with use of force are established in civil litigation. The Commission's review of 
five years of litigation and related disciplinary files demonstrates that this 
manifestation of the excessive force problem in the LAPD needs to be 
addressed. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

The LAPD has done an outstanding job, by all accounts, of creating a 
culture in which officers generally do not steal, take bribes, or use drugs. The 
LAPD must apply the same management tools that have been successful in 
attacking those problems to the problem of excessive force. Subsequent 
chapters will address specific recommendations in areas such as training, 
promotion, discipline, community relations, and the structure of the 
Department. We address here several broad recommendations that apply to 
the system as a whole. 

Leadership 

The leadership of the LAPD must give priority to curbing excessive use of 
force. The leaders must make this priority felt throughout the system, in the 
powerful incentives and disincentives that influence the behavior of police 
officers. 

Especially in a quasi-military organization such as the LAPD, the leadership 
has great power to bring about change and a concomitant responsibility to use 
that power wisely and effectively. The leaders of the LAPD can send, if they 
want to, an unequivocal message that the pride so often expressed and widely 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 61 



Report of the Independent Commission 



felt within the Department is deserved only if officers act within the law in the 
use of force and exercise restraint in the power entrusted to them. That 
message has not been sent. Without it, meaningful progress in reducing 
excessive force by the LAPD cannot be achieved. 

The Police Commission must be part of this leadership effort. We explain 
in detail in Chapter 10 our recommendations for strengthening that body. We 
emphasize here that Police Commission audits and review of the excessive 
force problem must be accompanied by a firm resolve to accord this issue the 
priority it requires in the LAPD's policies and goals. 

Command Accountability 

Command officers have not been held accountable for excessive or 
unnecessary force by officers whom they supervise. This must change. 
Accountability means that command officers will be evaluated on the basis of 
how officers under their supervision adhere to the Department's policies 
regarding use of force. Accountability must be stressed throughout the system. 
When an incident of excessive force occurs, supervisors up the chain of 
command must be accountable, regardless of whether they actually 
participated in the wrongful conduct. 

Supervision, Monitoring, and Counseling 

Lieutenants and sergeants working with officers in the field must monitor 
the use of force by those they supervise. The guidelines for preparation of 
performance evaluation reports must be revised to require supervisors to 
assess information from complaint histories, especially where a repetitive 
pattern exists. The Department must provide command officers with the 
statistical information already available and readily accessible for use by 
appropriate command officers. Supervisors must understand what force is 
being used and why, detect "early warning" signs of a developing problem, and 
arrange for officers to receive the training and counseling they need to exercise 
the appropriate level of restraint in contacts with the public. Training must be 
more than perfunctory, as we discuss in detail in Chapter 7. Officers should be 
encouraged to receive professional counseling by experts if appropriate. If 
counseling and training do not work, discipline must. 



62 Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Management Attention to Civil Litigation 

The City of Los Angeles is paying millions each year in defense, settlement, 
and verdicts in cases alleging violence and brutality by U\PD officers. This 
problem must not be dismissed as resulting from out-of-control juries or 
inadequate defense lawyers. Too often in the cases studied by the 
Commission, the officers 1 conduct was egregious, their testimony not credible, 
and the City Attorney's settlement recommendation prudent in the face of the 
evidence and likely result. 

LAPD management must recognize that the problem of litigation is a 
reflection of the more fundamental problem of excessive force, not in all cases 
to be sure, but in far too many of them. Prompt investigation and discipline, if 
appropriate, should be pursued. Information about officers' conduct that 
becomes available in the litigation should be used in evaluating those officers. 
Conduct that results in large settlements or judgments, including punitive 
damages awarded on the basis of egregious or intentional misconduct, should 
be carefully studied to determine what went wrong and why. In addition, the 
Department, in conjunction with the City Attorney's office and other interested 
bodies of City government, might consider arbitration or mediation of claims 
that are now routinely denied and often lead to more expensive litigation. 

Audio and Videotaping of Contacts Between the Police and the Public 

A promising possibility for reducing excessive force and assisting the LAPD 
and the City in defending civil litigation is video technology. The state-of-the-art 
technology utilizes a small camera mounted in the patrol vehicle, which can be 
turned on either manually, or automatically with lights or sirens. The camera 
can be equipped with a wide-angle lens and rotated 360 degrees. The unit is 
equipped with a wireless remote microphone capable of picking up sound 
within 1,000 feet of the patrol car. The unit is tamper proof, and the tape is kept 
in a secure box in the patrol vehicle's trunk. It cannot be erased or re-recorded. 

Chief Gates, Assistant Chief Vernon, and Commander Bostic in testimony 
before the Commission endorsed this concept as having substantial merit. 
Similar technology has been used for a number of years in various jurisdictions. 
The Commission recommends that the LAPD pursue efforts to use such 
technology, including the formulation of proposed Department guidelines for 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 63 



Report of the Independent Commission 



use of video technology and experimental use in a substantial number of patrol 
cars. 

The Commission recognizes that many have asserted that in some 
situations officers may fail, intentionally or otherwise, to use the video and audio 
equipment properly to record the event at issue. Possible ways to address this 
concern should be studied as part of the experimental program recommended 
here. 

According to the LAPD officer studying the use of video technology, 
installation in patrol vehicles Department-wide could cost roughly between $5 
and $8 million. In addition, the cost of videotapes could run as high as $1 
million per year. While this expenditure must be weighed against other 
competing needs, the costs of video technology may be offset or recouped if 
the system reduces excessive force claims (because the tapes demonstrate 
that the officers acted appropriately and because officers would be more 
careful to use force appropriately). Videotaping might also promote officer 
safety by deterring violence by suspects against police officers. 

"Mid-Level" Use of Force Options 

Many LAPD officers have contended that a major problem with the 
Department's use of force policy is the perceived gap in "middle level" use of 
force options. When dealing with a combative suspect, many officers complain 
of a lack of realistic Department-approved options between talking and using 
the baton. 

While other options are available at the baton force level -- specifically, 
chemical mace and taser - they are less frequently used than the baton and 
are believed by many officers to be less effective. A large number of officers 
interviewed urged reinstatement of the carotid chokehold, which restricts the 
flow of blood, as a "mid-level" use of force option. As discussed in Chapter 10, 
the Police Commission in 1982 equated the carotid and bar-arm chokeholds 
with other forms of "deadly force" on the use of force escalation scale, in 
response to reports that the chokehold had caused several deaths. The 
officers advocating return to use of the carotid hold, many of whom joined the 
force after its use was limited, assert that it is more humane than striking 
someone with a baton. The Department, however, made no recommendation 
to the Commission regarding the carotid or bar-arm chokehold. 



64 Chapter 3; The Problem of Excessive Force 



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The Department is interested in testing a chemical agent called capstun, 
used by the FBI and numerous other law enforcement agencies. Several 
officers also indicated support for the stun gun. This weapon, like the taser, 
uses an electrical charge to control the suspect but, unlike the taser, is held in 
contact with the suspect. 

In the Commission's view, before the implementation of these or other 
tactical approaches can be recommended, a thorough study by police, 
medical, scientific, psychological, and other appropriate experts should be 
undertaken as part of a comprehensive evaluation of middle-level use of force 
options by the Department and the Police Commission. 



Chapter 3: The Problem of Excessive Force 65 



Report of the Independent Commission 



66 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Four; 

Racism and Bias Affecting 
the Use of Excessive Force 

RACIAL AND ETHNIC BIAS IN THE LAPD . 69 

Background,... , 70 

MDT Transmissions 71 

Bias In the Treatment of Minority Citizens 74 

Bias In the Treatment of Minority Police Officers 78 

BIAS BASED ON GENDER WITHIN THE LAPD ... 83 

Gender Differences In the Use of Excessive Force 83 

Official and Unofficial Attitudes of Male LAPD Officers 

and Staff Toward Female Officers 84 

MDT Transmissions 87 

BIAS BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION 88 

RECOMMENDATIONS 91 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 67 



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68 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"Well ...I'm back over here in the projects, 
pissing off the natives " 

7 would love to drive down Slauson with a 
flame thrower . . . we would have a 
barbeque." 

Computer messages sent 
between LAPD patrol cars 



Chapter Four: 

Racism and Bias Affecting the 
Use of Excessive Force 



RACIAL AND ETHNIC BIAS IN THE LAPD 

The nexus between racial and ethnic bias and the use of excessive force is 
sharply illustrated by the results of a survey recently taken by the LAPD of the 
attitudes of its sworn officers. Subsequent to the King beating, an LAPD survey 
of 960 officers found that approximately one-quarter (24.5%) of 650 officers 
responding agreed that "racial bias (prejudice) on the part of officers toward 
minority citizens currently exists and contributes to a negative interaction 
between police and the community." (55.4% disagreed; 20.1% had no 
opinion.) More than one-quarter of the poll's respondents (27.6%) agreed that 
"an officer's prejudice towards the suspect's race may lead to the use of 
excessive force." (15% expressed no opinion; 57.3% disagreed.) 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 69 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Background 

Within the minority communities of Los Angeles, there is a widely-held view 
that police misconduct is commonplace. The King beating refocused public 
attention on long-standing complaints by African-Americans, Latinos and 
Asians that LAPD officers frequently treat minorities differently from whites, 
more often using disrespectful and abusive language, employing unnecessarily 
intrusive practices such as the "prone-out," and engaging in use of excessive 
force when dealing with minorities. 

The Problem of Racism Is Not New 

The issue of disparate treatment of minorities by the LAPD is not new. 
More than 25 years ago the Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, 
chaired by John A. McCone, issued a report on the immediate and underlying 
causes of the Los Angeles riots during August 1965. No single factor was 
identified, but the starting point for examination of the causes of the August 
riots was an evaluation of law enforcement in Los Angeles. The McCone 
Commission found "a deep and longstanding schism between a substantial 
portion of the Negro community and the Police Department, Police brutality* 
has been the recurring charge." (December 2, 1965 Report, p. 27.) The 
Commission identified then-Chief of Police William Parker as the focal point of 
criticism within the African-American community: 

He is a man distrusted by most Negroes and they 
carefully analyze for possible anti-Negro meaning 
almost every action he takes and every statement 
he makes. Many Negroes feel that he carries a 
deep hatred of the Negro community. 

Notwithstanding that view, the McCone Commission noted Chief Parker's 
"record of fairness" to African-American officers, and observed that "he is 
recognized, even by his most vocal critics, as a capable Chief who directs an 
efficient police force that serves well this entire community." 

The McCone Commission concluded that it was essential to promote 
communication between the police and the African-American community. The 
Commission urged a better understanding by the police of attitudes within Los 
Angeles' African-American community and recommended that the LAPD 
change its personnel complaint procedures and hire more minority officers. 



70 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



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While the issue of racism in Los Angeles law enforcement is not new, 
the changing demographic profile of the City the explosion of multiple 
cultures within the LAPD's jurisdiction noted in Chapter 2 - has heightened the 
need for sustained efforts at finding solutions to this troubling problem. 

The Blake Consent Decree 

In March 1981 the City of Los Angeles settled discrimination suits 
brought by Fanchon Blake and the United States, The consent decree entered 
as a result of that settlement set hiring goals for women, African-Americans, 
and Latinos and dramatically altered the criteria for employment as an officer in 
the LAPD. The consent decree made no provision for increased employment 
of Asian officers. 

The LAPD has now made substantial progress in the hiring of 
minorities and women. By June 1990, minority officers constituted 37.1% of 
LAPD's sworn officers (13.4% African-American; 21% Latino; 2.7% Asian) 
compared to 18.6% before the consent decree. Women comprised 12.6% of 
the LAPD, compared to 2.6% before entry of the consent decree. The 
recruitment effort for African-American, Latino, and female officers should be 
sustained. Because the Asian population is underrepresented in the LAPD, a 
special effort should be mounted to recruit Asian officers, especially those with 
relevant language capabilities. As discussed in subsequent sections of this 
Report, issues remain as to whether minority and women officers receive their 
share of quality assignments and have the same opportunities for promotion as 
white male officers. 

MOT Transmissions 

As discussed in Chapter 1, shortly before Officers Powell and Wind 
responded to the call for assistance in the pursuit of Rodney King, they had 
handled a domestic disturbance call at the home of an African-American family. 
In their exchange with the radio telephone operator over their MDT, the Powell- 
Wind unit described the incident as being "right out of 'Gorillas in the Mist."' 
The Department unit receiving this message responded in what has been 
described as mock African-American language, "hahaha ... let me guess who 
be the parties," 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 71 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Public release of these two MDT transcripts shortly after the King beating 
further fueled charges that the beating was racially motivated. Because of the 
offensive nature of the comment and response, the Commission undertook the 
extensive general review of MDT transcripts described in Chapter 3. This 
review revealed an appreciable number of disturbing and recurrent racial 
remarks. 

Some of the remarks describe minorities through animal analogies or are 
derisive of ethnic origins of minority groups. The remarks, often made in the 
context of beatings or pursuits, cover the spectrum of racial and ethnic 
minorities in the City. 

• "Well ... I'm back over here in the projects, 
pissing off the natives" 

"I would love to drive down Slauson with a 
flame thrower ... we would have a 
barbeque." 

• "Sounds like monkey slapping time." 

• "Oh always dear . . . what's happening . . . 
we Ye huntin wabbits" 

"Actually, muslim wabbits" 

"Just over here on this arson/homicide . . . 
be careful one of those rabbits don't bite you" 

"Yeah I know . . . Huntin wabbits is 
dangerous." 

• "A fern named [C] . . . I will be careful ... we 
are out to get 211 susp that have been hitting 
almost twice a night. 2 m/blks . . . are you 
busy 

"I was for awhile. But now I am going to 
slooow it down. If you encounter these 
negroes shoot first and ask questions later." 

• "Wees be reedy n about 5" 
"Wees also bees hungry" 

• "Hi . . just got mexercise for the night" 

• "Don't be flirting with all ur cholo girlfriends" 



72 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



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• "The sneaky ones r . . . . you watch me find 
you one sneaky guy . . . soon as dey bweak 
law me swoop down big time and make dem 
confess" 

• "Okay people . . . pis . . . don't transfer me 
any orientals ... I had two already" 

• "Just like the word cholo, can't be said over 
the air, I don't make rules." 

• "Just clear its buxsy [busy] out hear this hole 
is picking up, I almost got me a Mexican last 
nite but he dropped the dam gun to quick, 

lots of w?r 

• "Lt says learn Spanish bone head . . . 

Sgt- [A] says tell them to go back to Mexico 



• "Don't cry Buckwheat, or is it Willie Lunch 
Meat" 

The racist comments freely exchanged over the MDT system stand in 
sharp contrast to the LAPD's official policy against "racially or ethnically 
oriented remarks." Memorandum No. 1, dated April 24, 1987, "Unacceptable 
Remarks of a Racial Nature," states: 

This Memorandum reaffirms the Department policy 
concerning racially or ethnically oriented remarks, 
slurs, epithets, terminology, or language of a 
derogatory nature. These remarks are an 
inappropriate form of communication which 
becomes a destructive wedge in relationships with 
peers and members of the community. The 
deliberate or casual use of racially or ethnically 
derogatory language by Department employees is 
misconduct and will not be tolerated under any 
circumstances. (Emphasis in original.) 

The officers typing the MDT messages apparently had little concern that 
they would be disciplined or otherwise sanctioned for making those remarks. 
Other officers took no steps to prevent this behavior; supervisors made little 
effort to discipline it or to review the messages. In fact, many of the offensive 
MDT comments were made from sergeants' field supervisory units. 

A review of records provided by the U\PD indicates that only a small 
number of personnel complaints have been sustained on the ground of 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 73 



Report of the Independent Commission 



improper racial remarks (not involving other misconduct) in the seven-year 
period from 1984 to 1990. The sustained complaints resulted in modest 
penalties. These records also show that during this period only two personnel 
complaints were sustained for transmission of an improper message over the 
MOT. In one case an officer was admonished; in the other, two officers 
received one-day suspensions. In the second incident, a white male officer 
transmitted a vulgar sexual and racial remark to an African-American female 
officer, who used her MDT to respond with angry profanities. The commanding 
officer recommended a four-day suspension for the white male officer and a 
two-day suspension for the African-American female officer. The Chief of Police 
reduced the penalties to one-day suspensions for each. As described in 
Chapter 3, the MDT materials reviewed by the Commission's staff were equally 
available to the Department, but no systematic effort was made to review them 
to enforce official Departmental policy against racist remarks. 

The LAPD emphasizes the aggressive performance of police duties. LAPD 
officers are trained not only to respond to service calls, but also to seek out 
potential criminals before they commit crimes. This aggressive, hardworking 
style of policing is reflected in the Department's effectiveness and productivity. 
According to The Big Six, discussed in Chapter 2, Los Angeles in 1986 had the 
lowest ratio of sworn officers to residents, but the highest number of violent 
crime arrests per sworn officer. 

If combined with racial and ethnic bias, the Department's active style of 
policing creates a potentially grave problem, Because of the concentration and 
visibility of gangs and street drug activities and the higher rates of violent and 
property crime in Los Angeles' minority communities, the Department's 
aggressive style - its self-described "war on crime" - in some cases seems to 
become an attack on those communities at large. The communities, and all 
within them, become painted with the brush of latent criminality. 

Bias In the Treatment of Minority Citizens 

Testimony in public and executive sessions and written presentations 
made to the Commission by a variety of witnesses depict the LAPD as an 
organization with practices and procedures that are conducive to discriminatory 
treatment and officer misconduct directed at members of minority groups. 
Witnesses repeatedly told of LAPD officers verbally harassing minorities; 



74 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



detaining African-American and Latino men who fit certain generalized 
descriptions; employing the so-called "prone-out" tactic (described below) in 
minority neighborhoods, even for routine traffic stops; and using excessive 
force, particularly in African-American and Latino communities. While the 
Commission does not purport to adjudicate the validity of these complaints, the 
intensity and frequency of them reveal a serious problem. 

Discourtesy and Harassment 

A large number of witnesses complained that there is a general 
climate of hostility between the police and members of minority communities 
and that discourtesy and verbal harassment by LAPD officers are 
commonplace. That perception was shared by former Assistant Chief of Police 
Jesse Brewer, who testified that he told Chief Gates in 1989 that he was deeply 
concerned about the manner in which officers treated the public. 

Discussions held with a cross-section of the City's religious leaders 
indicate that even respected members of minority communities are subject to 
harassment by the LAPD, For example, one minister explained that he wore his 
collar in his driver's license picture and when driving his car in order "to avoid 
getting harassed." Another minister said that while most members of his 
predominantly African-American congregation have no contact with the police, 
"those who have had contact have had almost uniformly negative experiences." 
A Catholic priest told us that "I don't feel I could find a single person who 
couldn't tell you a story of police abuse, of humiliation, of degradation at the 
hands of the [local] Police Division - not a single one." 

"Prone Out" Position 

The "prone-out" position is a police control tactic that requires the 
suspect first to kneel, and then lie flat on his stomach, with his arms spread out 
from his sides or his hands behind his back. The Commission received 
numerous accounts of incidents involving African-American or Latino males, 
stopped for traffic infractions, who were "proned-out" under circumstances that 
did not present any risk of harm to the officers and that did not involve a felony 
warrant. The Commission recognizes that use of this tactic is often necessary 
to ensure officer safety, but believes that greater discretion should be exercised 
in its application. 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 75 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Police officers interviewed in the investigation said that use of the 
prone-out position in African-American and Latino communities was "pretty 
routine." One officer described the practice as the product of an attitude that 
officers acquire while working in the field, particularly the south end of the City. 
He indicated that such use of the tactic is accepted as part of getting the job 
done. In his view, 

it starts with roll call, where you are repeatedly told 
you must be careful because these people tend to 
be more aggressive and carry guns . . . that 
aggression and force are the only things these 
people respond to, 

Unjustified Stops 

Many witnesses complained of the apparent practice by the police of 
stopping individuals because they resemble a generalized description of a 
suspect or because they appear not to belong in a particular neighborhood. 
The Commission repeatedly heard accounts of African-American and Latino 
males, often in expensive or late model cars, or in parts of the City where they 
might be considered out of place, being stopped for no apparent reason or for 
one that appears on the surface to be a pretext. The existence of this practice 
among some LAPD officers was acknowledged by an LAPD senior command 
officer in testimony before the Commission, It is also vividly reflected in a MDT 
transmission reviewed by the Commission: 

• "U can c the color of the interior of the veh . . . 

dig." 

"Ya stop cars with blk interior." 

"Bees they naugahyde." 

"Negrohide." 

"Self tanning no doubt." 

In one incident that occurred in 1986, an African-American male, 
alone, driving a new Porsche in South-Central Los Angeles around 2:00 a.m., 
was followed by LAPD officers for several blocks. He was stopped when he 
pulled in front of his home. According to the officers, he had several blocks 
earlier stopped his car beyond the white line at the intersection delineating the 



76 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



pedestrian crosswalk, The individual stated that he was ordered out of his car 
and handcuffed while the police checked his car. He received a traffic ticket, 
which was canceled after he complained to the Department. 

Similar incidents involving well-known African-American athletes and 
television personalities have recently been reported by the media. Jamaal 
Wilkes, a Los Angeles businessman and former college and professional 
basketball player, was stopped by LAPD officers after leaving his mid-Wilshire 
office one evening about 8:00 p.m. Wilkes reported that the officers first 
informed him that he was stopped because his license tag was about to expire. 
During the stop, he was handcuffed and told a felony arrest warrant was 
outstanding against him. A second check showed this information to be 
incorrect, and Wilkes was released. After Wilkes filed a complaint, the 
investigating officer informed Wilkes that he had been stopped because of a 
broken tail light, 

Routine stops of young African-American and Latino males, 
seemingly without "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion," may be part 
and parcel of the LAPD's aggressive style of policing, The practice, however, 
breeds resentment and hostility among those who are its targets. Moreover, 
the practice has created a feeling among many in Los Angeles' minority 
communities that certain parts of the City are closed to them or that being 
detained by the police is the price of traveling in those areas. 

The experience of some minority officers when off duty is consistent 
with that of other African- American and Latino males. Incidents were reported 
of African-American officers being stopped by white officers in circumstances 
not resulting in an arrest or otherwise involving any apparent infraction or illegal 
activity by the African-American officers. In two of these incidents, 
notwithstanding the African-American officers having identified themselves as 
LAPD officers, the white officers were said to have responded that the 
identification could be stolen and would have to be checked. 

LAPD Use of Canines 

The Commission also heard numerous complaints about the 
frequency and manner of use of police dogs in minority neighborhoods. 
Witnesses described incidents when LAPD officers allegedly had dogs attack 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 77 



Report of the Independent Commission 



minority youths already in custody or failed to call off the dogs after the suspect 
was under control. 

Analysis of data provided by the LAPD shows a high correlation 
between the frequency of use of the canines and areas of the City with 
significant minority populations. The South and Central Bureaus are composed 
almost entirely of African-American or Latino/mixed populations. During the 
period 1988-1989, these two bureaus comprised 70.8% of the total canine 
searches, 70.4% of the suspects apprehended in canine searches and 69.6% of 
the reported dog bites. The questions raised by these complaints and by the 
limited data the Commission has been able to review are serious ones, and we 
recommend the Department and the Police Commission investigate them 
further. 

Bias In the Treatment of Minority Police Officers 

The extent to which minority officers are accepted and integrated within the 
LAPD is a measure of the Department's responsiveness to the larger minority 
communities. The MDT messages and other evidence suggest that minority 
officers are still too frequently subjected to racist slurs and comments and to 
discriminatory treatment by fellow officers, 

The Commission interviewed current and former Asian, Latino, and African- 
American officers, all of whom exhibited a strong sense of loyalty to the 
Department, even when critical of certain aspects of its operations. Two 
recurrent issues emerged. 

First, there is concern about the apparent lack of sensitivity among 
supervisors to the debilitating effects that racial and ethnic biases have, not 
only on minority officers' acceptance and treatment within the Department, but 
on the way in which LAPD officers interact with the public. Many of the officers 
expressed fear that, if it were known that they were speaking to the 
Commission on these issues, their careers might suffer or they might become 
known as troublemakers and be ostracized by their peers. One of the officers 
interviewed reported that, after meeting with members of the Commission staff, 
he found a hangman's noose on the telephone that he used every morning to 
call home from the station. He stated that he has not reported the incident to 
his supervisor because he knew nothing would be done. 



78 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



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Second, there is concern, sometimes expressed as disappointment or 
frustration, over the failure of the Department to take an active stance in 
enforcing its formal policies against racial and ethnic bias. While the relative 
number of officers who openly make racially derogatory comments or treat 
minority officers in a demeaning manner seems by all accounts small, their 
attitudes and behavior carry a greater impact than would otherwise appear 
warranted because of the failure of supervisors to enforce, vigorously and 
consistently, the Department's policies against racist conduct. In the words of 
one African-American officer: 

[NJarcotic use, theft, and other criminal acts are not 
tolerated and carry strong disciplinary penalties. 
Penalties for persons engaging in racist acts should 
be equally severe. Racist acts and racism directed 
at fellow employees or at the people they serve 
should not have the appearance of being 
condoned. 

The failure to enforce existing policies conveys to minority and non- 
minority officers alike the message that such conduct is in practice condoned 
or tolerated by the Department, notwithstanding its stated policies to the 
contrary. This apparent tolerance seems in turn to dissuade officers from 
reporting instances of misconduct because of the fear that they will not be 
supported by their supervisors and will themselves be criticized and harassed 
by their peers. To the extent there is the perception of tolerance of racist 
behavior toward other officers, it is likely to engender a greater acceptance of 
similar behavior toward minority citizens. 

Racial Comments and Attitudes Within the Department 

A number of the racial comments appearing in the MDT transcripts 
discussed above were directed at minority officers. The MDT transcripts, 
however, are not the only evidence of racial and ethnic slurs within the 
Department. The Commission was told by most of the minority officers 
interviewed that racially derogatory remarks are made on an on-going basis at 
roll call and that racist jokes and cartoons appear from time to time on the 
bulletin boards in the stations* locker rooms. 

Latino officers reported they are often referred to by ethnic 
nicknames such as "Chico," "burrito-man," and "Chuy." African-American 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 79 



Report of the Independent Commission 



officers reported similar experiences involving racial slurs. Some of the Asian 
officers stated that, although racism against Asians is far more subtle today 
than 20 years ago, on an almost daily basis they hear some racist comments or 
reference to Asian stereotypes. Almost all of the officers said that, while they 
found such racial slurs and remarks offensive, they endured the name-calling 
and jokes to avoid the label of being "thin-skinned" and "sensitive," 

Many of the minority officers also noted that some divisions within the 
Department have the reputation of being less accepting of minority officers than 
others. The Valley Bureau was often identified as an area where African- 
American officers in particular were not welcome. 

Concerns about the apparent tolerance of racism were also 
expressed about South Bureau. In August 1989, an emblem containing the 
South African flag and the words "South Africa" were found attached to the grill 
of the unmarked police car of two white homicide detectives in South Bureau. 
The Los Angeles Times reported on August 23, 1989 that the emblem had been 
observed by "supervisory personnel" just before a dedication ceremony. The 
detectives' supervisor was ordered to have it removed. More than a week later, 
however, the emblem was again observed on the car. The flag and emblem 
were finally removed after a Times reporter and photographer saw them. Only 
then did the Department begin a formal investigation. The two officers were 
eventually reprimanded. 

African-American officers interviewed at the time by the Times stated 
that they believed that the South African emblem was a symptom of a deeper 
problem - the presence of a clique of openly racist white police officers in the 
South Bureau who were tolerated by their supervisors. The emblem was 
viewed by several African-American officers as an endorsement of repression of 
minorities and apartheid. They stated that they feared ostracism if they made 
formal complaints. 

The minority officers interviewed almost uniformly echoed the opinion 
of one African-American officer who said that, "there are many fine white 
officers who are doing their job and do not harbor racist sentiments. However, 
there is still a significant group of individuals whose old line, deep-seated 
biases continually manifest themselves on the job." This officer felt that - with 
the support of white commanders, captains, and lieutenants - significant 
changes could be made in the Department. 



80 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



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LAPD Survey of Perceptions of 
Minority and Female Officers 

In 1987, Dr. Martin Reiser, Director of the Behavioral Science Services 

Section of the Department, conducted a study of perceptions of sworn 

personnel about the treatment of male minorities and females in regard to 

promotions, attitudes about administrative problems, and peer relationships. 

Of the minority officers responding, 45% of the African-American officers, 31% 

of the Latino officers and 25% of the Asian officers answered affirmatively that 

they had encountered discrimination on the basis of race. Of the female 

officers responding, 36% of the white officers, 34% of the African-American 

officers, and 30% of the Latina officers responded that they had encountered 

gender discrimination. Forty-five percent of the African-American male officers, 

27% of Latino male officers, and 31% of Asian male officers said they had 

encountered racial slurs by supervisors, peers or both. Forty percent of the 

African-American female officers also responded that they had encountered 

such slurs; significant percentages, 36% and 24%, respectively, of the Latina 

and female white officers also had experienced slurs from supervisors or peers. 

Lack of Minority Officers In Managerial Positions 

As previously noted, the LAPD has made substantial progress in 
hiring minorities and women since entry of the Blake consent decree in 1981. 
The Department's statistics show, however, that the vast majority of minority 
officers are concentrated in the entry level, Police Officer ranks of the 
Department. As of February 1991 there was a total of 1,154 African-American 
sworn personnel, of whom 947 or 82% held positions within the ranks of police 
officer Mil. Latino and Asian officers are similarly concentrated; more than 80% 
of Latino and Asian officers held positions within the ranks of police officer Mil, 
In contrast, only 61% of white officers held positions within the ranks of police 
officer Mil. 

The present concentration of minorities in entry level positions is 
consistent with the pattern in the LAPD that has emerged over the years. The 
Commission reviewed comparable data for the years 1980, 1986 and 1991. 
Using 1980 as a base year, 1986 and 1991 were selected in part to take into 
account the minimum tenure requirements for eligibility for promotions within 
the Department to sergeant and lieutenant. Analysis of these data shows that, 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 81 



Report of the Independent Commission 



although there are now more minority officers on the force and more minority 
officers with the minimum tenure requirements for promotion to sergeant and 
above, the same relative concentration in the patrol ranks exists today as it did 
10 years ago. 

Between 1980 and 1990, African-American representation among 
managerial and supervisory ranks (sergeant and above) increased only from 
5.3% to 8%; Latino representation increased from 4.9% to 10.4%. The 
percentage of female officers with the rank of sergeant or above increased in 
the same 10-year period from 0.8% to 2.4%. In 1990, 6.4% of the LAPD 
detectives were women; 6.5% were African-American and 13.2% were Latino. 
The absence of minorities and women from higher level investigative, 
supervisory, command, and staff positions might be due to a variety of 
individual factors. Evidence gathered by the California Fair Employment and 
Housing Commission suggests, however, that it might be in part the result of 
covert discrimination. Whatever the reason, the leadership of the Department 
remains predominantly white and male. 

Many minority officers cite this white dominance of managerial 
positions within the Department, even in African-American and Latino areas of 
the City, as one reason for the Department's continued tolerance of racially 
motivated language and behavior. Leaders in the minority communities also 
have articulated their frustration at the absence of minority officers in 
managerial positions. As recognized in 1967 by the President's Commission 
on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, Task Force Report: The 
Police, "if minority groups are to feel that they are not policed entirely by a 
white police force they must see that [African-American] or other minority 
officers participate in policy making and other crucial decisions/' 

The Commission's review of LAPD assignments as of April 1991 
reveals that in many of the City's 18 areas with significant minority populations, 
few of the supervisory and management personnel (lieutenants and above) 
assigned to those divisions are minority officers. There are currently 46 
minority officers in the ranks of lieutenant and captain (out of a total population 
of 300). Such small numbers obviously do not permit the Department to staff 
all of its divisions to reflect the diversity of the populations they serve. While the 
Commission does not suggest that minority officers should only serve in 
minority communities, it is important that the Department evidence greater 



82 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



sensitivity to the impact and consequences, real and perceived, that can result 
from having predominantly minority communities served exclusively by white 
management and supervisory personnel. 

Coveted Positions 

Certain assignments and units within the LAPD are officially 
recognized as "coveted positions," ones that are generally perceived as more 
desirable, attractive and prestigious. Assignments to units such as 
Metropolitan (considered the most elite uniformed unit), Narcotics and Internal 
Affairs are highly sought after, Those positions also are considered to provide 
officers career-enhancing promotion opportunities. 

Assignments to most coveted positions are discretionary 
appointments by the commanding officers and are not subject to civil service, 
competitive selection criteria. Many of the minority officers interviewed 
expressed the strong view that the "good old boy" network among white staff 
officers and supervisory personnel makes it extremely difficult for minority 
officers to get transfers into those units. The Department's 1990 Coveted 
Position Report confirmed that minorities and females are underrepresented in 
these desirable assignments. 

BIAS BASED ON GENDER WITHIN THE LAPD 

Bias within the LAPD is not limited to racist and ethnic prejudices, but 
embraces widespread and strongly felt gender bias, as well. The Commission 
developed little evidence that the gender bias results in excessive force or 
harassment of female suspects or victims. This bias does, however, result in 
the underutilization of female officers. Because the Commission heard 
persuasive evidence that most female officers use a style of policing that 
minimizes the use of excessive force and inappropriate confrontations, the 
continued existence of discrimination against female officers can deprive the 
Department of specific skills, and thereby contribute to the problem of 
excessive force. 

Gender Differences In the Use of Excessive Force 

Virtually every indicator examined by the Commission establishes that 
female LAPD officers are involved in excessive use of force at rates substantially 



Chapter 4; Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 83 



Report of the Independent Commission 



below those of male officers. There were no female officers among the 120 
officers with the most use of force reports. Female officers accounted for 3.4% 
of the officers involved in or at the scene of incidents underlying the 83 most 
serious lawsuits against the LAPD resolved from 1986 through 1990. 

A study also was conducted by the Commission of the top 10% of the 
LAPD officers ranked by the combined use of force reports, personnel 
complaints and officer-involved shootings. There were no female officers 
among the top 132 officers. Only 3.7% (30) of the 808 LAPD officers with the 
highest number of incidents were women officers. 

The statistics indicate that female officers are not reluctant to use force, but 
they are not nearly as likely to be involved in use of excessive force. The 
statistics are borne out by the weight of academic and anecdotal evidence 
gathered by the Commission. With some exceptions, female officers 
interviewed believed they were more communicative, more skillful at de- 
escalating potentially violent situations and less confrontational. A suspect's 
defiance and disrespect of an officer often gives rise to use of force by an 
officer. Many officers, both male and female, believe female officers are less 
personally challenged by defiant suspects and feel less need to deal with 
defiance with immediate force or confrontational language. 



Official and Unofficial Attitudes of Male LAPD Officers 
and Staff Toward Female Officers 

The official Departmental policy is one of full equality for, and full 

acceptance of, female officers: 

Current law clearly forbids discrimination on the 
basis of race, religion, national origin, sex (includes 
sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination), 
age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, 
creed, color, ancestry, medical condition, affliction 
or perceived affliction with AIDS, or retaliation for 
having filed a discrimination complaint. 

Yet law should not be the primary basis for our 
beliefs, behaviors, and responsibilities. Accepting 
others and respecting their differences should be 
natural and spontaneous. . . . Prejudiced remarks, 
offensive jokes, and the promotion of stereotypes 
cannot and will not be tolerated in the workplace. 
Ridicule based on personal characteristics, health, 
race, sex or sexual orientation creates an 
environment which negatively impacts the 



84 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



performance of all employees. (Memorandum No. 
5, Department Policy on Nondiscrimination, issued 
May 17, 1991.) 

Many male officers interviewed did not personally subscribe to the 
Department's formal policy or were otherwise unaccepting of female officers. 
That negative viewpoint is not confined to any level or race of male officers, but 
represents a pervasive attitude within the Department. 

Despite Chief Gates' public statements, several female LAPD officers cited 
Chief Gates' choice of certain top assistants whom they believe to be 
insensitive to women's points of view as indicating a lack of commitment to 
female equality at the most senior levels, 

The disparity between official policy and unofficial practice was recognized 
by Chief Gates in his appearance before the Commission on June 14, 1991. 
Chief Gates testified that he was "really pleased with my women in the 
Department/' and stated they had done a "magnificent job." He conceded, 
however, that female officers, even more than officers who are gay or lesbian, 
had a "real tough time" in achieving acceptance within the Department and 
admitted that full equality for female officers remains a problem. 

The seriousness and extent of the problem for female officers have been 
recognized by internal LAPD studies. In his 1987 study of the perceptions of 
sworn personnel about the treatment of females and minorities, Dr. Reiser 
found that the vast majority of the female officers reported problems with "not 
being judged on ability" {70% of females), "sexist remarks" (78% of females), 
"partner with negative attitude about personal competence passed on verbally" 
(55% of females), and "lack of sensitivity to cultural/racial issues" (43% of 
females). 

Another study by the LAPD in 1987 concluded that female officers were 
subjected to a double standard and subtle harassment and were not accepted 
as part of the working culture: 

Those interviewed indicated that women are still 
not accepted. For example, female probationers 
are told they are not as good as men in a "man's" 
job and they "must earn their way." 

In some geographic areas, female police officers 
are told outright that they aren't wanted working at 
the division. One female officer reported being told 
by her male training officer, "It's my task to get rid 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 85 



Report of the Independent Commission 



of you." Another described her probationary 
period as a "game of intimidation" where there was 
always "the hidden agenda" of being tested day 
after day. In response to the question of female 
acceptance, one male sergeant stated, "We didn't 
ask them to work here. They came on the job and 
if they can't take it then they can get out." 

It appears that male officers do not overtly refuse to 
work with females but rather use subtle tactics such 
as not talking to them in the car or not providing 
them with information to help them learn the job. In 
addition, there were numerous cases described in 
which male officers had deliberately orchestrated a 
fight, provoking a suspect to see how a female 
probationer would "handle herself." One male 
officer indicated "women should be able to handle 
the testing and not be so sensitive and think it's 
harassment." Another example indicated that after 
a recent use of force review, the female partner 
received remediation but the male partner did not 
when both individuals' tactics were at fault. 

These LAPD studies were reviewed in detail at a 1987 meeting attended by all 
senior staff. No subsequent meetings were scheduled, nor was any specific 
action undertaken as a result of this meeting. 

The problem has not abated in the four years since this meeting. To 
assess current attitudes toward female officers in the field, the Commission 
interviewed approximately 90 training officers in four divisions. Training officers 
are assigned as partners to new officers during their first year out of the 
Academy, and thus play a major role in shaping the new officers' views of 
police work. While some of the training officers were supportive and 
complimentary of female officers, many expressed concerns that female 
officers were not as capable, effective, or trustworthy as their male 
counterparts. Others said they did not have problems with female officers, but 
confessed that many of their male colleagues did. 

A sampling from the training officers 1 statements demonstrates this 
viewpoint: 

• "We worked with many female officers but 
only know one who was equal in ability to 
male officers. Women tend to be smart and 
good at writing reports, but are weak and 
timid." 



86 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



• "Female police officers 'don't want to do 
anything but collect a paycheck/" 

• "A lot of male officers prefer working with 
men over women. For me, it's a question of 
upper body strength, The department needs 
a more stringent height requirement." 

• "I know most officers have problems working 
with female officers and dislike working with 
them because they believe women don't have 
the physical stature to do the job/' 

Commission interviews of other male LAPD officers reflect the same 
pattern of negative feelings: 

• "Many male officers feel very uncomfortable 
dealing with a physical situation when a 
female officer is partnered with them." 

• "Female officers generally cannot back up 
officers." 

• "Female officers sometimes exacerbate the 
situation because they feel the need to assert 
themselves or escalate the potential for use of 
force." 

• "I clearly won't get involved in some 
situations if I have a female partner. It's 
protective. It's not a question of comfort, but 
of safety. I'm more inclined to lay back and 
evaluate the situation if I have a woman 
partner. They're just not as strong." 



MDT Transmissions 

Acceptance of widespread gender bias is evidenced by the Commission's 
review of MDT transcripts, discussed above, which revealed a constant stream 
of sexist comments and remarks with obvious sexual overtones. As indicated 
earlier, these are official Department communications, typed into a MDT, 
displayed on the screen of another, and subject to monitoring by a field 
supervisor, as well as being retained for subsequent audit, Yet blatantly sexist 
messages are openly transmitted. 

♦ "U wont believe this ... that female call again 
said susp returned ... Ill check it out then I'm 
going to stick my baton in her" 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 87 



Report of the Independent Commission 



• "Ohh, I just fuckin love it when you talk sexy." 

• "U wanna partake w/me my little love bud." 

• "Do you know where your pussy is." 

• "No but I left a 14 year old girl that I me 
yesterday handcuffed naked o my chin-up 
bar wearing nothing but a blind-fold and 
salad oil . . . I'd like to ck on her." 

• " . . . 415 female, huh . . . well, just slap that 
silly broad sense less." 

• "Your getting a new boot from Academy ... a 
breathtakin blonde with huge kazoopers." 

In addition, male officers repeatedly refer on MDT communications to their 
female counterparts with condescending or derogatory nicknames. 

Extensive research on women in police work throughout the United States 
reveals that, while they perform as well as male officers, the main obstacle 
confronting female officers in all major metropolitan police departments 
continues to be male attitudes toward them, as well as the influence of 
stereotypical role models in law enforcement. Traditional views concerning the 
nature of police work in general -- that is, that police work is a male-oriented 
profession with a major emphasis on physical strength - foster a climate in 
which female officers are discouraged. A corollary of that culture is an 
emphasis on use of force to control a situation, and a disdain for a more 
patient, less aggressive approach. 

BIAS BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION 

The Los Angeles Police Department has a well-documented prior history of 
discrimination against gay men and lesbians. A memorandum circulated in the 
Department in 1975 confirmed that homosexuality was an absolute bar to 
employment: 

To retain the current trust of the community and the 
high level of efficiency enjoyed by the Los Angeles 
Police Department, the disqualification of police 
applicants based on substantiated homosexual 
conduct must be continued. 



88 Chapter 4; Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



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As recently as 1988, an LAPD background investigator told a Central Division 
watch commander that he had identified several "faggots" in his applicant pool 
and was searching for reasons to disqualify them. 

Current policy, set forth in the May 17, 1991 Memorandum No. 5, now 
prohibits such discrimination. Chief Gates affirmed this nondiscrimination 
policy before the Commission, stating that sexual orientation should be totally 
irrelevant to an officer's status within the LAPD. 

Apparently putting that policy into practice, the Los Angeles Gay and 
Lesbian Police Advisory Task Force announced on June 18, 1991 that the 
Department had given gay and lesbian officers permission to wear their 
uniforms and staff a recruiting booth at a gay pride festival held on June 22-23, 
1991. Several gay and lesbian officers did operate the recruiting booth at both 
days of the festival, 

A tension remains, however, between the LAPD's official policy and actual 
practice. Some of the most offensive comments in the MDT transcripts 
reviewed by the Commission concerned lesbians and gay men. 

• "No. 1800 how many homosexuals did you 
give orals to today" 

"That's a touchy subject ... not fit for 
MDTing ..." 

♦ "Just finished writing 4 tickets to some poo 
buts" 

# "Did you check your fruits at the park ... I 
hope you watered them ..." 

"I figurred how to get rid og them ... Im 
sending in a bunch of naked girls, that will 
scare them a way ..." 

* Til c u at the County Jail bun-boy . . ." 

"If I was a bun-boy you'd be asking to sleep 
over my house homo" 

• "Houston PD has a new chief — Elizabeth 
Watson 40 yrs old ..." 

"I bet that's going over reeeeeaaalll good with 
the troops dude . . . they have some dyke 
bleding heart for a mayor ..." 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 89 



Report of the Independent Commission 



The hostility within the Department toward homosexuals is evidenced by 
the absence of openly gay or lesbian officers among the LAPD's ranks, While 
there are a number of gays and lesbians in the Department, not one LAPD 
officer was openly gay or lesbian at the time this Commission was appointed. 
The Commission staff interviewed more than 50 gay and lesbian officers, 
virtually all of whom said they believe they cannot reveal their sexual orientation 
without jeopardizing their careers. Many also reported fear that revealing their 
sexual orientation would jeopardize their physical safety. The gay and lesbian 
officers interviewed recounted stories about harassment of suspected 
homosexual officers and about the daily patter of slurs and jokes concerning 
"faggots," "dykes," and "queers." In mid-June 1991, however, several gay and 
lesbian officers publicly identified themselves. 

The Commission received conflicting evidence as to whether 
disqualification of suspected gay and lesbian recruits continues in a less overt, 
unofficial manner. Many officers in the LAPD's most recent graduating class 
reported that they were required, as part of the application process, to provide 
the name and address of at least one member of the opposite sex with whom 
they were involved romantically, Until recent months, the standard 
psychological test administered to all applicants to the Police Academy 
included the question, "Are you attracted to members of your own sex?" Yet 
the Department's background investigators insist that, while applicants are 
asked about close relationships, no questions are asked about heterosexual 
relationships or concerning "members of the opposite sex," and they deny that 
gay or lesbian applicants are disqualified because of their sexual orientation. 
(The background investigation of LAPD applicants is discussed further in 
Chapter 6.) 

As with other attitudes of bias, prejudice against gays and lesbians 
appears to affect officers 1 interactions with members of the community. 
Virtually all of the gay and lesbian officers and approximately 10% of the 
heterosexual field training officers interviewed by the Commission staff stated 
that "gay-looking" suspects are regularly subjected to derogatory comments 
about their presumed sexual orientation. Both gay and heterosexual officers 
have noted that police are far more aggressive in enforcing minor infractions 
against suspected homosexuals than against presumed heterosexuals. Several 
officers, including heterosexual officers, stated that they believe many fellow 



90 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



A 



Report of the Independent Commission 



officers take "gay calls" lightly, particularly if the calls involve domestic disputes 
between gay men. One gay officer described instances in which he witnessed 
officers actively dissuade victims of "gay bashings" from pressing charges 
against the perpetrators by threatening to arrest the victims and place them in 
the same cells as the perpetrators. 

Bias against lesbians and gays also contributes to excessive use of force. 
As one LAPD officer put it: "It's easier to thump a faggot than an average Joe. 
Who cares?" Another officer said that gay people tend to get beaten more 
frequently than straight people because "they love it. They want to get hit." 
During the 30-day period prior to the beating of Rodney King, five separate 
incidents of alleged abuse by LAPD officers against homosexuals were 
reported to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center. 
Over the last two years, more than a dozen other incidents of alleged police 
abuse by LAPD officers based on sexual orientation have been reported by 
community groups. Several of the incidents involved excessive use of force by 
police officers sent into public areas specifically to arrest gay men allegedly 
engaging in lewd conduct. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

The Department has begun important steps to correct many of the 
symptoms of racism and ethnic and gender bias within the LAPD. A 
comprehensive review of training, particularly regarding human relations and 
the use of force, is being conducted by Commander Michael J. Bostic. An 
extensive monitoring procedure for MDT communications has been 
implemented. Far more is needed. 

The Department needs to acknowledge there is in fact a serious problem 
that must be confronted. It is not acceptable to say that prejudice exists 
because, as several senior officers have said, "LAPD recruits from the human 
race." Having acknowledged the problem, LAPD must do all it can to change 
those attitudes, including holding command officers responsible for continued 
incidents by their subordinates. Specifically: 

1. The Chief of Police should seek tangible ways (for example, through 
disciplinary measures) to establish the principle that racism and ethnic and 
gender bias will not be tolerated within the Department. Such bias cannot be 
eliminated without active leadership from the top. 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 91 



Report of the Independent Commission 



2. The LAPD must establish a program of cultural awareness training (or 
retraining) to eliminate stereotypes for all officers. This program should be 
funded by the City Council and developed by an independent organization 
experienced in providing such training. Supervisory/administrative officers 
(Lieutenant I and higher) should be trained first, with the remaining officers 
trained on a specified schedule. Retraining of all officers should thereafter take 
place on a regular basis. 

3. A new, separate position should be created at the commander level, 
a "Community Relations Officer" reporting to the Chief of Police. This officer's 
responsibilities will include (i) liaison with those conducting the cultural 
awareness program; (ii) establishment of liaisons with representatives of 
minority communities within the City of Los Angeles; (iii) establishment of an 
"ombudsman" to deal with LAPD officers concerning racial and gender related 
matters, including complaints concerning bias and discrimination within the 
LAPD; and (iv) monitoring use of force reports regarding minorities, and public 
complaints involving racial matters. It is essential that officers have a means to 
address racial grievances to someone other than the officer in charge of the 
station where the act occurred. 

4. The LAPD must address the problems created in minority 
communities by the inappropriate and unnecessary use of the "prone-out" 
tactic and the practice of stopping young minority males without proper 
justification. 

5. The recruitment effort for African-American, Latino, and female 
officers should be sustained. Because the Asian population is 
underrepresented in the LAPD, a special effort should be mounted to recruit 
Asian officers, especially those with relevant language capabilities. 

6. Female and minority officers must be given full and equal opportunity 
to assume leadership positions in the LAPD. Women and minorities must be 
assigned on a nondiscriminatory basis to the so-called "coveted positions," 
and promoted to supervisory and managerial positions on the same basis. 

7. The LAPD must fully implement in practice its policy of 
nondiscrimination in the recruitment and promotion of gay and lesbian officers. 



92 Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 



Report of the Independent Commission 



NOTES TO CHAPTER FOUR 

1 , Commission Study by Jeff Dasteel and Chick Naumer, Officers and Suspects Listed on Use 
of Force Reports by Sex, Descent & Injury 1/31/89-3/31/91, dated June 13, 1991. 



Chapter 4: Racism and Bias Affecting the Use of Excessive Force 93 



Report of the Independent Commission 



94 Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Five: 

LAPD Culture, Community Relations, 
and "Community Policing" 

"COMMUNITY POLICING" AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO 

TRADITIONAL METHODS OF CRIME CONTROL 100 

The LAPD's Adoption of Community-Oriented 

Policing Programs 101 

MODIFYING LAPD'S LAW ENFORCEMENT STYLE 

TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY RELATIONS 103 



Chapter 5; LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 95 



Report of the Independent Commission 



96 Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"My parishioners have told me many times 
that they want to have a good relationship 
with the police. However, they are caught 
in a dilemma because they are suffering at 
the hands of the police. On one hand, they 
don't want to speak up because they don't 
want to undermine the ability of the police 
to deal with the negative elements. But I 
have been told of many incidents where 
my parishioners have been the victims of 
disrespect or the victims of excessive use 
of force by the police. " 

A Los Angeles Clergyman 



Chapter Five: 

LAPD Culture, Community Relations 
and "Community Policing" 



As previously emphasized, the Commission believes that proper supervision 
and management, including command accountability, are important steps 
toward eliminating the identifiable group of officers who repeatedly engage in 
improper uses of force. More difficult to control, because they are more 
fundamental, are those aggressive confrontations with the public that result 
from the LAPD's assertive style of law enforcement. 

During the past century, the purposes and methods of policing have 
evolved as different philosophies or models have dominated police behavior. 
The LAPD's current approach is the product of a reform era that emphasized 
creation of professionalism within the force. A "professional" model of policing 
is primarily concerned with maintaining a well-disciplined, highly trained, and 
technically sophisticated force insulated from improper political influence. 
Crime-fighting is seen as the principal objective of policing. 



Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 97 



Report of the Independent Commission 



A competing model of community-based policing has developed and 
gained increased acceptance in the 1980's and is seen by many as the 
preferred policing style of the future. The community policing model treats 
service to the public and prevention of crime as the primary function of police in 
society. Proponents believe that the police, the public, and other government 
agencies must form a working partnership to have a meaningful impact on 
crime. Officers at the patrol level are required to spend less time in their cars 
communicating with other officers and more time on the street communicating 
with the public. 

Evidence from all sources - senior LAPD officials, rank-and-file patrol 
officers, community leaders, and members of the public - describes the LAPD 
as having a "professional" organizational culture that has emphasized crime 
control over crime prevention and isolated the police from the communities and 
the people they serve. To the applause of many, the LAPD insists on 
aggressive detection of major crimes - murder, burglary, automobile theft - 
and a rapid, seven-minute response time to calls for service. Patrol officers are 
evaluated by statistical measures (for example, the number of calls handled 
and arrests made) and are rewarded for being "hardnosed." This style of 
policing produces results (the LAPD consistently outperforms other major city 
police departments in the number of violent crime arrests per sworn officer), 
but it does so at the risk of creating a siege ("we/they") mentality that alienates 
the officer from the community. 

Assistant Chief Dotson described the LAPD as "stuck" in a "1950's sort of 
world view": 

We reward our people our field people, the 
people that got us here to this [Commission] 
meeting -- we reward them for what we call 
hardnosed, proactive police work. We want 
them to go out and identify criminal activity 
and stop it, either before it occurs, or certainly 
after it occurs, we want to go out and 
determine who the criminals were who 
perpetrated this particular act and get them 
into jail. 



98 Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
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The consequence of this 1950's approach, according to Chief Dotson, is 
confrontation with the public; 

We expect people to go out and aggressively 
identify people, and investigate them, and 
that puts these police officers in the middle 
between what we evaluate them on and what 
they are able to do legally. And so it results in 
police officers bluffing their way into 
situations, and, when they stop people on the 
street, frequently the guy knows, you don't 
have anything on me, you don't have any 
reason, and he knows that very well. And he 
knows they're bluffing. And that gets us in, 
time after time, into these conflict situations 
that end up, frequently with uses of force, 
frequently with manufacturing or at least 
puffing of the probable cause. 

A number of commanding officers share the opinion that too many LAPD 
patrol officers view the public with resentment and hostility. One recently 
promoted lieutenant, who is currently a watch commander, testified that LAPD 
training emphasizes "command presence" that can lead to inappropriate 
confrontations on the street. He also testified that, in his view, too many LAPD 
officers fail to treat the public with the necessary courtesy and respect. That 
opinion was also expressed by former Assistant Chief Brewer, who testified that 
he has believed for several years that officers' conduct is "out of control" in 
terms of rude and disrespectful treatment of the public. 

William Rathburn, Chief of Police of Dallas, Texas, and former Deputy Chief 
of the LAPD, testified that many techniques and procedures used by the LAPD 
tend to exacerbate, rather than calm, potentially volatile situations. Chief 
Rathburn specifically noted that the "prone-out" position as used in minority 
neighborhoods generates substantial hostility against the LAPD in those 
communities. While acknowledging the need for officer safety, Chief Rathburn 
expressed the view that the prone-out tactic was used by many LAPD officers in 
an indiscriminate and offensive manner. 

The LAPD, in turn, is viewed, in the words of one minister of an African- 
American and Latino congregation, with "a grave mistrust." Another minister, 
who is a former police officer, expressed the view that the "problem transcends 



Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 99 



Report of the Independent Commission 



cultural differences. The police department divides everybody into two 
categories: blue and everyone else." A third minister explained the dilemma 
felt by his parishioners (half African-American, half Latino): 

My parishioners have told me many times 
that they want to have a good relationship 
with the police. However, they are caught in a 
dilemma because they are suffering at the 
hands of the police. On one hand, they don't 
want to speak up because they don't want to 
undermine the ability of the police to deal with 
the negative elements. But I have been told 
of many incidents where my parishioners 
have been the victims of disrespect or the 
victims of excessive use of force by the 
police. 

Concern over the Department's interaction with the community is not 
limited to senior LAPD officials and members of the public. Nearly two-thirds 
(62.9%) of the 650 LAPD officers who responded to the post-King-incident 
LAPD survey expressed the opinion that "increased interaction with the 
community would improve the Department's relations with citizens." (Only 
15.8% disagreed; 21.3% had no opinion.) 

"COMMUNITY POLICING" AS AN ALTERNATIVE 
TO TRADITIONAL METHODS OF CRIME CONTROL 

The Commission heard from several experts in police administration who 
urged adoption of the community policing model as a means of combatting 
excessive use of force and improving relations between the LAPD and the 
people it serves. Community-based policing proponents argue that the existing 
strategy of policing - which depends on random and directed patrol, rapid 
response to calls for service, and retrospective investigations of crime - is not 
succeeding. Crime remains high; the public remains fearful. Moreover, these 
experts assert that by focusing primarily on controlling serious crime, the police 
become too narrow in their focus and too harsh in their treatment of the public. 

Community policing emphasizes a department-wide philosophy oriented 
toward problem solving, rather than arrest statistics. The concept also relies 
heavily on the articulation of policing values that incorporate community 



100 Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 



Report of the Independent Commission 



involvement in matters that directly affect the safety and quality of 
neighborhood life. To acquire an understanding of the particular concerns and 
priorities of different neighborhoods, officers must interact with residents on a 
routine basis and keep them informed of police efforts to prevent neighborhood 
crime. Community policing proponents believe that, as this communication 
continues, a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship will develop 
between the police and the community that will ensure police accountability to 
the community, as well as to the Department, and will promote a better 
understanding by the community of the realities of police work. 

To be effective, a department adopting community policing principles must 
decentralize managerial control and provide officers greater autonomy to 
approach and solve the underlying causes of crime and other neighborhood 
problems. Proponents of this style of policing insist that addressing the causes 
of crime makes police officers more effective crime-fighters, and at the same 
time enhances the quality of life in the neighborhood. 

The LAPD's Adoption of Community-Oriented Policing Programs 

Community policing concepts are not foreign to the LAPD; it has made 
several efforts to incorporate them into the "professionalism model" the LAPD 
embodies. In the late 1960's, after the Watts riots, Chief Tom Reddin appointed 
Community Relations Officers ("CROs"), all lieutenants, to provide liaison to 
neighborhood organizations, In 1970, Chief Ed Davis created "the basic car 
plan," a beat system in which small teams of officers had 24-hour responsibility 
for patrolling a relatively small area within a precinct. A new rank was created - 
senior lead officer ("SLO") ~ to lead the team. The SLO coordinated the basic 
car team, handled his or her own patrol responsibilities, monitored conditions 
within his or her geographic area, organized Neighborhood Watch groups, and 
arranged crime-prevention meetings with the local residents. Several years 
later, Chief Davis instituted team policing, which decentralized authority by 
creating a number of smaller, autonomous units throughout the City. The goal 
of team policing was to develop closer ties with the community and to respond 
to concerns for the overall well-being of the area. 



Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
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Report of the Independent Commission 



Beginning in 1979, Chief Gates began to emphasize priorities that turned 
away from the team policing system and recentralized authority in 
headquarters, in part because of budget constraints and a reduction in the 
number of officers. In light of budget cuts, CRO lieutenants were eliminated; 
area captains were given responsibility for the work the CROs had done. 
Although the SLO rank still exists, it is increasingly difficult for those officers to 
perform community policing activities because of the emphasis on producing 
arrests and performing other, regular patrol functions. Within the LAPD, when 
scarce resources cause community policing efforts to collide with demands for 
statistics or rapid response, community policing yields. 

Current Community-Based Programs 

Notwithstanding the erosion of team policing, Chief Gates has 
continued to experiment with programs that reflect community policing values. 
In 1983 he developed a highly visible, community-oriented program, "DARE - 
Drug Abuse Resistance Education," in which officers leave patrol and go to 
schools to teach children about the dangers of drug use. Many view the DARE 
program as one of Chief Gates' major achievements, promoting substantial 
public goodwill toward the LAPD. 

In 1985, responding to complaints from residents about their 
dissatisfaction with police services, the Wilshire Area created its Community 
Mobilization Project f CMP"). All eight of Wilshire's SLOs were relieved of any 
patrol responsibilities and directed to respond to the needs of the community. 
The SLOs went to block meetings, implemented programs suggested at those 
meetings as well as programs they developed based on their own sense of the 
neighborhood, handled complaints that came through the local Council 
member's office, and organized community groups (including Boy Scouts) to 
paint over graffiti. There was time to focus on residents' concerns rather than 
exclusively on robberies and burglaries. But Wilshire Area's response time 
dropped to the worst in the City, and the SLOs were again given patrol 
responsibility. 

Another program that experimented with elements of community 
policing was instituted in 1989. In "Operation Cul-de-Sac," police erect barriers 



102 Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 



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on streets in high-crime areas so that motorists cannot drive through a 
neighborhood. The most ambitious use of this program occurred in a 30-block 
area of the Newton district of South-Central Los Angeles. The LAPD set up two 
cul-de-sacs in the section and erected small barriers on other streets. The zone 
was saturated with officers on foot, horse, and bicycle. "Open to Residents 
Only" and "Narcotic Enforcement Area" signs were posted. The aim was to 
discourage drug dealers and gang members from driving through the area. At 
the same time, debris was removed from alleys and graffiti scrubbed off walls. 
Officers worked with other City agencies to insure that residents received basic 
City services. 

With its targeting of high crime neighborhoods and its intensive use 
of officers, Operation Cul de Sac is not a model of community-based policing. 
Nonetheless, the results of this program appear promising. Serious crime in 
Newton dropped 17% in the first year. Drive-by shootings plummeted from 38 
in 1989 to only one in 1990. Assaults were down 25%. One salutary effect, 
reflecting the potential for positive interaction between the police and the 
community, was that attendance at a local high school increased by more than 
100 students. 

Approval for Operation Cul-de-Sac is not unanimous, however. 
Some critics question the fact that it operates only in minority communities and 
claim it produces harsh, unjustified treatment in those neighborhoods of young 
African-American and Latino male residents who are suspected of being gang 
members. For at least a few residents and certain civil liberties organizations, 
the barricades and concentrated police activity have created an unacceptable 
"armed camp." Finally, a number of officers interviewed, as well as members 
of the public, have suggested that Cul de Sac's impact on crime is illusory: 
when the police operate in one neighborhood, crime is simply displaced to 
another. 

MODIFYING THE LAPD'S LAW ENFORCEMENT STYLE 
TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY RELATIONS 

Despite approval for the DARE program and the qualified successes of 

Wilshire Area's CMP and Operation Cul-de-Sac f the LAPD remains committed 



Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing" 103 



Report of the Independent Commission 



to its traditional style of law enforcement with an emphasis on crime control and 
arrests. The values underlying community policing, most fundamentally 
restraint and mutual respect, are most difficult to incorporate into the behavior 
of officers operating within the U^PD's current professional system. LAPD 
officers are trained to command and to confront, not to communicate. 
Regardless of their training, officers who are expected to produce high citation 
and arrest statistics and low response times do not also have time to explain 
their actions, to apologize when they make a mistake, or even to ask about 
problems in a neighborhood. They must write the citation or make the arrest 
and rush off to answer the next call as quickly as possible. 

Community policing concepts, if successfully implemented, offer the 
prospect of effective crime prevention and substantially improved community 
relations. Recognizing this promise, the chiefs of police of 10 major 
metropolitan departments, including New York, Chicago, Boston, and Dallas, 
issued a position paper endorsing community-based policing on April 16, 1991: 

Police agencies across America are moving 
toward a community-based style of policing. 
This style of policing values partnerships, 
problem-solving, accountability, and a service 
orientation to our citizens. Our hope is for the 
Los Angeles tragedy to have a positive 
outcome by accelerating change toward this 
new form of policing, in order to better serve 
our diverse communities. 

Assistant Chief Robert Vernon has also advocated adoption of community- 
based policing: "I would implement the principles of community-based 
policing, and I think community-based policing rather than being a program, 
must be an attitude, a culture, if you will, that has its threads going through the 
whole fabric of the organization." 

Los Angeles' social problems are well beyond the ability of the LAPD to 
resolve on its own. The active involvement of other governmental entities, as 
well as business leaders, community leaders, educators, and others in the 
private sector, is essential to reduction of the root causes of crime, which range 
from unemployment and drug use to the failure of our mental health system. 



104 Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
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But a positive relationship between the police and the members of the 
communities they serve can facilitate those solutions. 

Community-based policing is not a panacea for the problem of crime in 
society, and its implementation may encounter special problems given the vast 
geographic area of Los Angeles. Nonetheless, the Commission believes that 
the LAPD should adopt the community-based policing model and implement it 
fully, albeit carefully, throughout the Department. Continued experimentation 
with individual programs that use community policing principles can have only 
limited success, so long as the demand for crime control and crime statistics 
remains at the core of the Department's values. Using a community-based 
style of policing, LAPD officers can continue to be active and energetic in 
preventing crime, as well as reacting to it, without unnecessarily aggressive 
confrontations with the public. 

Community-based policing's emphasis on patrol officers interacting 
positively with the public should have the effect of "humanizing" officers' 
perceptions of those whom they police. As suggested by many of the clergy 
who spoke to the Commission, community-based policing would both increase 
the effectiveness of the police and diminish the tension between the public and 
the LAPD by eliminating the view of "the community as enemy." 

Although we recognize that the culture of an organization developed over 
many years cannot be changed by simple fiat, it is now time to develop 
programs to deemphasize force and promote restraint, to foster within the 
LAPD a different attitude toward the population it serves, and to assist the 
public to gain greater trust in the Department. Creation of the high-ranking 
position of Community Relations Officer, recommended in Chapter 4, should 
assist in breaking down racial barriers and promote greater cooperation 
between the police and local communities. (See also Chapter 7, below, 
discussing the need for improved training in human relations and cultural 
awareness.) Incentives should be created to encourage officers to develop 
innovative programs within their assigned communities. Equally important, the 
Department must develop and employ tactics that emphasize containment and 
control, rather than confrontation and physical force. Credit for pay advances 
and promotions should be given not simply for arrest statistics, but for 



Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
Relations and "Community Policing 1 ' 105 



Report of the Independent Commission 



innovation and creativity in developing and implementing crime prevention 
programs. But these are only initial steps. 

New programs, no matter how worthwhile, will not alone implement 
community policing. It requires the most fundamental change of values within 
the LAPD. The Department must recognize the merits of community 
involvement in matters that affect local neighborhoods, develop programs to 
gain an adequate understanding of what is important to particular communities, 
and learn to manage departmental affairs in ways that are consistent with the 
community views expressed. Above all, the LAPD must understand that it is 
accountable to all segments of the community. 



106 Chapter 5: LAPD Culture, Community 
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Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Six: 

Recruitment, Selection, 
and Psychological Testing 

RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION 110 

The Initial Psychological Evaluation is an 
Inexact Predictor of an Applicant's 

Proclivity Toward Violence .......................................... 110 

LAPD Investigators Pay Too Little Attention to 
the Violent History of Candidates 1 1 1 

Background Investigators Are Inadequately 
Trained and Overworked „ 112 

Disqualification Standards Are 
Not Applied Uniformly 113 

There Are Limitations on the Initial 
Psychological Evaluation Process and 

There Is a Need for Retesting 114 

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS 115 

The Focus of the Initial Evaluation 
Should Be on Past Behavior As a 

Predictor of Future Behavior 115 

Officers Should Be Retested Periodically 116 

Supervisors Should Emphasize the 
Detection of Problems in Officers' Field Work 118 



Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 107 



Report of the Independent Commission 



108 Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"[Research indicates] that the emotional 
and adjustment problems frequently seen 
in law enforcement officers [are] not pre- 
existing, but were acquired on the job." 

L.J. West, M.D., Professor of 
Psychiatry, UCLA School of 
Medicine 



Chapter Six: 
Recruitment, Selection, 
and Psychological Testing 



Police work is dangerous, frustrating, frightening, stressful, and violent. Police 
officers have high suicide rates and suffer disproportionately from stress-related 
health impairments. As noted in Chapter 2, Dr. L. J. West, a distinguished 
psychiatrist, has served as a consultant to the Commission. Dr. West has 
provided the Commission with abundant data establishing that, because of the 
emotional turmoil inherent in being a police officer, applicants to the LAPD must 
undergo a rigorous selection process, including preemployment psychological 
testing, to screen out applicants with emotional disorders. 

Accordingly, although the Commission investigated all aspects of the 
LAPD's recruitment and selection practices, it focused its inquiry on 
psychological testing and the background investigation performed on each 
candidate. A large number of candidates who reach these stages of the 
selection process are disqualified; for example, approximately 40% of 
candidates who were investigated in 1990 were disqualified. The Commission 
was primarily interested in the effectiveness of the screening processes, 



Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 1 09 



Report of the Independent Commission 



particularly in whether candidates with violent tendencies are identified and 
screened out. 

The Commission has determined that many emotional and psychological 
problems develop during an officer's tenure on the force and cannot be 
detected by pre-employment screening. Accordingly, a principal 
recommendation of the Commission is that officers should be retested regularly 
for psychological, emotional, and physical problems. 

RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION 

The Initial Psychological Evaluation Is an 

Inexact Predictor of an Applicant's Proclivity Toward Violence 

The initial psychological evaluation, given to entry-level police applicants 
by staff psychologists of the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the City 
of Los Angeles, is designed to screen out those applicants who may not be 
psychologically suited for police work. This evaluation is comprised of several 
components, including the MMPI-2 test, a social history questionnaire, the 
16PF test and an oral interview. 

The MMPI-2 is designed to measure personality characteristics such as 
anger, cynicism, the tendency toward aggression, anxiety, and anti-social 
personality. While the test can give only what psychologists consider a "gross" 
warning that a person may be emotionally disturbed, it can at least identify 
areas that should be explored further in conjunction with other psychological 
evaluation procedures. 

The oral interview portion of the psychological evaluation is conducted by a 
City psychologist and may include questions about information revealed in the 
psychological tests or adverse information uncovered by the background 
investigation of the applicant. Under the civil service rules, applicants may 
appeal an adverse decision in their initial psychological evaluation by hiring a 
private psychiatrist or psychologist to evaluate the applicant. A second review 
may be held before a psychiatric review panel composed of volunteer 
psychologists, with a final appeal to the Civil Service Commission. 

This initial screening can identify obvious social misfits in the grossest 
sense, but cannot test for more subtle abnormalities which may make an 
individual ill-suited to be a police officer, such as poor impulse control and the 
proclivity toward violence. The appeal process has also been described as 



110 Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 



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Report of the Independent Commission 



"less than optimal" because it allows applicants who fail the psychological 
examination to "shop around" until they find their own doctor who will give 
them a different psychological assessment. 

LAPD Investigators Pay Too Little 

Attention to the Violent History of Candidates 

Because the physical and psychological tests rarely exclude applicants 
from the Department and, as discussed in Chapter 7, the Academy graduates 
over 90% of each class, the background investigation is the primary screening 
device for new LAPD recruits. Yet in interviews with the Commission staff, 
employees of the City Personnel Department stated their belief that the LAPDs 
background investigators often focus their attention on a candidate's use of 
drugs and sexual history and gloss over information concerning a candidate's 
violent tendencies and inability to interact with others. In the background 
interview, investigators are required to ask a certain number of questions 
concerning all of these aspects of a candidate's life. However, according to the 
Personnel Department, the investigators often ask intensely personal and 
pointed follow-up questions regarding sexual history and use of drugs, while 
not pursuing a candidate's responses to the questions on violence. As a result, 
the investigators may not effectively screen out individuals with violent 
tendencies. Also, these employees of the City Personnel Department, as well 
as police officers who are gay and lesbian, claimed, as discussed in Chapter 4, 
that this overemphasis on sexual behavior reflects the LAPD's alleged desire to 
exclude gay and lesbian applicants. 

A number of investigators acknowledged that they consider "use of drugs 
and intoxicants" to be the most important background standard. But all 
investigators interviewed by the Commission denied that any pointed sexual 
questions are posed to candidates. The investigators stated that the LAPD is 
interested only in sexual conduct that is illegal (such as prostitution), that 
suggests a lack of mature judgment (such as having sex in public), or that 
indicates psychological problems. The investigators stated that they do not 
normally make any inquiries beyond those topics and asserted that interviews 
often take place within earshot of others, thereby inhibiting them from asking 
improper questions. 



Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 



111 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Further evidence that the investigations may be distorted came from a 
sample of the written reports of background interviews with recruits. These 
reports usually are reviewed by a supervising sergeant who underlines topics 
on which the background investigation should focus. In a number of files, drug 
use and sexual background were marked for attention, but a candidate's 
discussion regarding losing his or her temper or engaging in fights was not. 
While the evidence is not conclusive regarding inadequate attention to violence 
and overemphasis on sexual conduct, the Commission believes that the LAPD 
should adopt auditing procedures designed to improve the process in the 
future. 

Background Investigators Are Inadequately Trained and Overworked 

Experts agree that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior; 
thus the background investigation offers the best hope of screening out 
violence-prone applicants. Unfortunately, the background investigators are 
overworked and inadequately trained. 

At any given time, investigators are expected to carry a caseload of 
approximately 120-150 investigations, each of which involves contacting about 
10 to 20 people (a candidate's relatives, friends, current and former employers) 
and running checks with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. 
Most investigators complained that they did not have enough time to contact all 
the references of all candidates. This problem is compounded during a period 
of expanded hiring (such as occurred in 1989-1990, as discussed below). As a 
result, an investigation may not be completed until after a candidate has been 
hired and begun work as a police officer. 

In addition, there is no formalized system of training for new background 
investigators. Each new investigator receives a 31 -page Background 
Investigation Manual and on-the-job training by accompanying a veteran 
investigator. The new investigator then begins to conduct his or her own 
interviews, under the supervision of the veteran, and to write reports on those 
interviews, which are reviewed by the veteran and the supervising sergeant. 
When the new investigator feels ready, he or she will begin working on 
investigations without direct supervision. 

This training may last several weeks. However, if there are a large number 
of ongoing investigations and few investigators, the training may be greatly 



112 Chapter 6; Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 



Report of the Independent Commission 



abbreviated. For example, during the period of expanded hiring in 1989-90, 
some new investigators began working on their own within a week of joining the 
Background Investigations Unit. The training problem is magnified because a 
number of investigators have been selected with only patrol experience, despite 
the apparent policy of the Unit to select only officers with significant 
investigative experience, 

Moreover, the background investigators, who are best positioned to ferret 
out past behavioral problems, may not be well trained to detect subtle 
psychological abnormalities, nor may they have the time or resources to 
uncover everything about a person's past that would be relevant to making a 
decision on psychological well-being, particularly when information is sought 
from other jurisdictions. Finally, although the background investigators are 
required to forward any adverse information to the City psychologists, the two 
groups do not work together closely enough, 

Disqualification Standards Are Not Applied Uniformly 

The Commission staff reviewed a sample of the background files which 
were completed in the periods December 1989 through January 1990 and 
January 1991 through March 1991. The first sample period occurred after the 
Department obtained authority to increase the number of officers dramatically. 
In the fiscal years that ended June 30, 1989 and June 30, 1990, the LAPD hired 
768 and 991 officers, respectively; and in the latter year, the Department 
conducted background interviews of 3,874 candidates. The second sample 
period was taken during a hiring freeze, which remains in effect. 

Investigations conducted during the first sample period were colored by 
the Department's desire to hire as many people as possible. This atmosphere 
was fostered, in large part, by a budgetary process that requires the 
Department to spend its allocated budget within the fiscal year or lose it. This 
hiring boom strained the Background Investigations Unit to the breaking point 
by greatly overloading each investigator. The LAPD has in effect admitted the 
problems associated with that period by instituting an audit system to review 
the background files of candidates hired then. However, this audit only involves 
a review of the paperwork already contained in the file; there will be no attempt 
to bolster inadequate investigations. 



Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 113 



Report of the Independent Commission 



In contrast, during January and March of 1991, a number of candidates 
were disqualified on the basis of relatively minor, past infractions. For example, 
one individual with an otherwise exemplary record (including a 99% oral 
interview score and excellent references), was disqualified for lack of honesty in 
failing to disclose on his application a job which he held in college for 
approximately two weeks. 

There Are Limitations on the Initial Psychological 
Evaluation Process and There Is a Need for Retesting 

A critical limitation on initial psychological screening is the fact that police 
work modifies behavior. An officers personality may change dramatically after 
years on the force. Among the many factors that modify a police officer's 
behavior is the "culture" of police officers, which tends to isolate officers and 
make them feel set apart from the rest of the world. Fear is also a ubiquitous 
part of life as a patrol officer. Officers learn they cannot control every situation, 
and that they are, quite literally, risking their lives every time they stop a car or 
intervene in a domestic dispute. Officers also may become frustrated and 
cynical when they learn that even their arrests of obviously guilty suspects may 
not result in a conviction. 

Facing this fear, frustration, and stress on a daily basis may alter the 
behavior of even the most well adjusted officer. One study concluded that 
"emotional and adjustment problems frequently seen in [police] officers were 
not pre-existing, but were acquired on the job." The author of the study found 
that police officer applicants actually were less predisposed to emotional or 
social adjustment problems at the time of screening than the general 
population, and concluded that emotional disorders must therefore be the 
result of "deterioration due to on-the-job stress," 

Thus, some officers may enter the force seemingly -well suited 
psychologically for the job, but may suffer from burnout, alcohol-related 
problems, anxiety, cynicism, or disenchantment, all of which can result in their 
having poor control over their impulses and behavior. A person's susceptibility 
to these behavior-modifying experiences may not be revealed during even the 
most skilled and sophisticated psychological evaluation process. 

Some officers who develop problems while on the force actually may have 
no psychological difficulties, but may simply be acting in an inappropriate 



114 Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 



Report of the Independent Commission 



manner out of ignorance about what they believe are the requirements of their 
job. For example, officers may mistakenly believe that acting menacingly or in 
an overly hostile manner may be the best way to produce results. If an officer 
acts in this manner for many years and is never warned that this behavior is 
inappropriate, the officer may not realize that he or she has a problem until the 
problem gets completely out of control. 

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS 6 

The Focus of the Initial Evaluation Should Be 

on Past Behavior as a Predictor of Future Behavior 

The initial psychological evaluation process could be improved by focusing 

less on test and oral interview results, and more on an analysis of past 

behavior. This requires the following improvements in the background 

investigation process: 

Background Investigators Should 
Receive Better, Formalized Training. 

In addition to the practice of assigning new investigators to 

accompany veterans, investigators need formal instruction in how to question 

candidates and their references. Furthermore, while it is not necessary for 

investigators to become psychologists, they should be schooled in the basic 

indicators of abnormal psychological behavior. 

There Should Be Periodic, Unannounced 
Audits of Background Investigations and Files. 

Audits should evaluate whether the LAPD focuses too much or too 

little attention on particular background standards, maintains uniform 

application of those standards, and appropriately limits inquiries about the 

sexual history of candidates. At present, supervisory officers are supposed to 

conduct occasional "audits" of investigators, but only to verify the log entries of 

investigators. More comprehensive audits should be performed by officers 

who are not members of the Background Investigations Unit or perhaps by the 

City Personnel Department. 



Chapter 6: Recruitment Selection, and Psychological Testing 115 



Report of the Independent Commission 



A Candidate Should Not Be Certified For Hire 
Until the Background Investigation is Complete, 

Currently, a background investigation may continue even after a 

candidate has graduated from the Police Academy and begun work as a police 

officer. This places the public and other officers potentially at risk because an 

unsuitable individual may be at work as an officer. 

Officers Should Be Retested Periodically 

Officers should be retested every three years to uncover both 
psychological and physical problems. In a proposed "Wellness Program," Dr. 
Martin Reiser, Director, Behavioral Science Services Section of the LAPD, 
recommended that officers be given periodic check-ups to assist them "with 
potentially debilitating problems before they become major casualties. 11 This 
program would focus on physical problems, as well as psychological 
problems, such as hypertension, obesity, lung capacity, and stress symptoms. 
This proposed retesting would also train officers to develop coping skills to 
enable them to deal effectively with the many stressful situations they 
encounter. 

Supervisors Should Emphasize the 
Detection of Problems in Officers' Field Work 

Supervisors must understand their role to include training, counseling, and 

guiding officers to cope with the stressful, frightening, and violent situations that 

the job can often entail, so that problems may be dealt with before an officer 

loses control or requires disciplinary action. Thus, supervisors must make it 

clear to officers that they may seek counseling or training either formally or 

informally, and that this counseling or training may be had on a confidential 

basis and without any punitive action being taken as a result. 



116 Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 



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NOTES TO CHAPTER SIX 

1. West, Louis Jolyon, M.D., "Unwonted Violence by Police Officers/' at 6, 7 (May 1991) 
("Unwonted Violence") (citing Nelson and Smith (1970). Saatnoff and Buckrnan (1990)) 
(unpublished report prepared for and on file with the Commission.) 

2. The MMPI-2 is a more recent version of the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality 
Inventory) designed to delete offensive language and reflect a more current understanding 
of psychology. City psychologists believe that this updated test includes areas more 
relevant for police work. The City has been using the MMPI-2 for approximately three 
months. 

3. The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire is a comprehensive personality inventory 
designed to yield sixteen scores of various personality traits. 

4. "Unwonted Violence," at 7 (citing Aylward (1983)). 

5. id. at 7-8. Another study cited in "Unwonted Violence" concluded that "police officers are 
exposed to stress outside the range of human experience, which leads to demoralization 
and brutallzation, and predisposes them to a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) similar 
to that found in veterans of the Vietnam War." id. at 9. (citing McCafferty (1990)). 

6. The Commission wishes to acknowledge the assistance in the development of these 
recommendations of Dr. Nels Klyver. a staff psychologist in the Behavioral Sciences Division 
of the LAPD's Psychological Services Department, and coordinator of the Assistance and 
Resources for Managers and Supervisors (ARMS) Program for the LAPD. 



Chapter 6: Recruitment, Selection, and Psychological Testing 117 



Report of the Independent Commission 




118 Chapter 7: Training 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Seven: 
Training 



ACADEMY TRAINING 122 

Curriculum 122 

Teaching Methodology and Techniques 124 

Personnel .......................................... ....„..„...„... 124 

FIELD TRAINING 126 

Introduction 126 

Field Training Officers 126 

Probationers 129 

Reporting of Police Misconduct 132 

CONTINUING EDUCATION 133 

Roll Call And Other In-Service Training 133 

Training of Sergeants, Lieutenants, 

and Captains 134 

RECOMMENDATIONS 134 

Academy Training 134 

Field Training 135 

Continuing Education 136 



Chapter 7; Training 119 



Report of the Independent Commission 



120 Chapter 7: Training 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"/ don't think there is any FTO training in 
this organization. Field training officers are 
made field training officers on a Friday 
afternoon and Monday they go to work. " 

LAPD Commander Michael 
Bostie, assigned by Chief 
Daryl Gates to review all LAPD 
training following the Rodney 
King incident 



Chapter Seven: 
Training 



On March 27, 1991, slightly more than three weeks after the King beating, Chief 
Gates ordered a thorough examination of all LAPD training, particularly in the 
areas of use of force and human relations. Commander Michael J. Bostic was 
named to lead the review. The Commission has been in close contact with 
Commander Bostic in conducting its analysis of the relation between LAPD 
training and the excessive use of force; Commander Bostic's assistance has 
been most valuable. We anticipate that his comprehensive report will 
complement many of the training recommendations we make here, 

LAPD officer training has three phases. Each recruit spends approximately 
six months at the Police Academy. The new officer then spends one year on 
probation working with various field training officers ("FTOs"). All officers 
receive continuing training, including mandatory field training and daily training 
at roll call. The Commission believes that in each phase of training additional 
emphasis is needed on the use of verbal skills rather than physical force to 
control potentially volatile situations and on the development of human 
relationship skills to better serve Los Angeles 1 increasingly diverse population. 



Chapter 7: Training 121 



Report of the Independent Commission 



ACADEMY TRAINING 

The Police Academy enjoys a reputation as an excellent training institution, 
and the Commission found the quality of its instruction generally impressive. 
The Department is reviewing the Academy curriculum and teaching methods 
and is considering several changes that could improve the Academy training. 
The Commission encourages that effort and offers the following observations 
for consideration, 

The newly created civilian position of Police Training Administrator fPTA 11 ) 
is expected to provide continuity, academic expertise and teaching experience. 
The PTA will serve as second in command of the Academy. The Department is 
seeking an academic with Ph.D. credentials to fill this position. A PTA should 
be appointed as promptly as possible. The Department, and in particular the 
Academy staff, must support the PTA. 

The Professional Advisory Committee ("PAC"), a volunteer group of 
religious, academic and community leaders, advises the Academy with respect 
to human relations training. While PAC has made significant contributions to 
the Academy (and is largely responsible for the past improvements in human 
relations training), the Academy has been slow to draw upon the resources and 
input of this group. Indeed, many of PAC's proposals have taken years to 
implement. The creation of the PTA position, which may be credited at least in 
part to PAC, should help to improve PAC's efficiency by providing a full-time 
liaison to assist in the implementation of PAC's recommendations. 

Curriculum 

Academy instruction currently consists of 960 hours, covering such diverse 
subjects as report writing, law, human relations, physical fitness, use of force, 
tactics, foreign language, and shooting. Courses are generally taught as 
individual subjects. Neither the teaching nor testing is integrated with other 
courses. 

Human Relations and Verbal Skills Training 

Each trainee spends approximately 75 hours in human 
relations/crisis intervention training, covering a range of topics from dealing with 
rape victims to domestic violence. The training includes an eight-hour cultural 



1 22 Chapter 7: Training 



Report of the Independent Commission 



awareness class, designed in conjunction with PAC and Department 
psychologists. In small-group sessions led by minority group representatives 
recruits are taught about cultural differences, prejudices, and biases. At 
present, no more than 1-1/2 hours is devoted to any ethnic group. Eight hours 
on this important topic is insufficient. (In contrast, the San Francisco Police 
Department requires 40 hours of such cultural awareness training.) Many of the 
cultural awareness classes now are taught with the assistance of sworn 
personnel from the respective minority groups. However, there is no such 
representation for the class on gay and lesbian issues. The Department should 
seek the assistance of gay and lesbian officers to teach the class. The PTA and 
PAC should further review the cultural awareness training and consider 
methods to better integrate it into the Academy curriculum. In particular, 
consideration should be given to moving this training to the beginning of the 
curriculum where it could serve as a building block for other training. 

Similarly, the Department has recently offered a special eight-hour 
class, "Verbal Judo," which teaches officers to use verbal skills to avoid using 
force. Because most of an officer's job (excluding paperwork) involves talking 
to other people, the PTA and PAC should consider placing this training at the 
beginning of the Academy curriculum where it would serve as a foundation for 
other courses. 

Foreign Language Training 

As part of the Department's effort to recognize the changing face of 
the communities it serves, the Department provides recruits with approximately 
95 hours of basic Spanish language training. The Commission agrees that 
foreign language skills are very important. The current language program, 
however, has been uniformly criticized by LAPD officers as ineffective. The PTA 
should closely review this training, including teaching methods and available 
technology, and make necessary changes. At present a recruit can graduate 
from the Academy without passing this class. As a result, the class often is not 
taken seriously. Methods should be considered to increase officers' motivation 
regarding this training. 

In addition, the Commission recommends that the Department 
increase its incentives for officers to become fluent in foreign languages relating 
to all segments of the Los Angeles population (for example, by providing 



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substantial pay incentives). Officers who are fluent in a foreign language should 
be encouraged to attend advanced courses on mediation techniques, crisis 
intervention or other specialized skills using their foreign language abilities. 

Teaching Methodology and Techniques 

Officers on the street have great discretion and are expected to make 
many quick judgments. Experience is an invaluable aid to the informed use of 
judgment and discretion, particularly in situations of stress and possible 
danger. At the Academy, however, recruits can begin to learn the skills, 
needed for exercising good judgment The PTA should review Academy 
instructional techniques and consider methods, including increased cross- 
training of instructional staff and use of team teaching, to integrate concepts 
and to encourage recruits to apply principles from the curriculum as a whole. 
The Department should consider making simulation instruction more "lifelike" 
and require the interaction of multiple skills. Academy training should not be 
limited to the performance of specific tasks. Recruits should be trained and 
tested on their ability to make decisions and use judgment, particularly 
concerning the use of force. 

In addition, an ongoing relationship should be created between Academy 
training and field training. This could be accomplished by requiring recruits to 
spend a significant amount of time in the field before graduation. Alternatively, 
new officers should return to the Academy for additional training after spending 
time in the field. Involvement of FTOs in this "debriefing" program would also 
help to integrate the Academy and field training programs. 

Personnel 

The Commanding Officer 

Because the Academy's commanding officer frequently is promoted 
in a relatively short time to a higher position, turnover in that leadership position 
has been a continuing issue at the Academy. The commanding officer 
establishes the policies and practices of the Academy. Frequent turnover in 
command inhibits the full implementation of changes and creates discontinuity, 
The addition of the PTA should help alleviate this problem. 



1 24 Chapter 7: Training 



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Instructors 

Although the commanding officer fills vacancies in the Academy 
instructional staff, he or she has little ability to remove instructors. As a result of 
this limitation and the absence of any fixed term of appointment, many 
instructors stay at the Academy for extended periods of time. Moreover, 
officers without significant field experience are sometimes assigned to the 
Academy instructional staff. Experienced patrol officers expressed concern that 
some Academy instructors are not sufficiently familiar with field work as it exists 
today. That belief might be at least partially responsible for the much-reported 
statement to probationary officers: "Forget everything you learned at the 
Academy." The benefits of requiring instructors to have appropriate field 
experience are self-evident. Limiting an officer's service at the Academy would 
have two benefits. First, it would insure that officers with relatively recent field 
experience are teaching at the Academy. Second, individuals with Academy 
teaching experience can be rotated to serve as training officers, roll call 
sergeants, or field training coordinators and thus bring to the field the benefits 
of their teaching experience and the newest techniques and theories. 

Graduation Rates 

At present approximately 90-95% of each entering Academy class 
graduates. Less than ten years ago that rate was closer to 60%. Some of this 
difference undoubtedly is due to changes in teaching practices, the availability 
of remediation programs, improvement in prehiring screening efforts, and 
reduction in physical training requirements. A portion of this change, however, 
seems attributable to an unwillingness to terminate poorly performing recruits, 
especially those protected by the consent decree or other similar mandate, for 
fear of civil liability or legal challenge or simply not meeting Departmental 
guidelines. The Commission urges that unqualified recruits not be retained for 
any reason. To do so only threatens the well-being of the public and the police 
force. 



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FIELD TRAINING 
Introduction 

Upon graduation from the Academy, officers spend the next year as 
"probationary officers," paired with FTOs. The FTO guides new officers' first 
contacts with citizens and with "the streets," and has primary responsibility for 
introducing these probationers to the culture and traditions of the Department. 
FTOs thus have enormous influence over the development of new officers' 
skills, work habits and attitudes. As many of the experts testified, a police 
officer is a composite of his or her FTOs. 

The Commission focused its investigation of field training on four divisions 
that provide a representative cross-section of the City's population and the 
various levels and types of criminal activity faced by the Department: Foothill, 
77th Street, Devonshire, and Wilshire. The Commission staff reviewed the 
personnel files of the 227 police officers who have served as FTOs in those four 
divisions within the last five years and conducted extensive interviews of more 
than 70 of those officers. 

There are a number of highly committed, capable FTOs. However, our 
review of FTOs in these four divisions revealed disturbing evidence that many 
FTOs openly perpetuate the siege ("we/they") mentality that alienates patrol 
officers from the community. Flaws in the process by which FTOs are selected 
and trained allow too many FTOs to pass on to their trainees confrontational 
attitudes of hostility and disrespect for the public. 

Field Training Officers 

Selection of FTOs 

Any police officer with the rank of Pill is eligible to serve as an FTO. 
To qualify as a Pill, the officer must pass a written examination, but needs only 
one and one-half years of experience, which includes the six months spent at 
the Academy and one year of probationary field training. The same written 
examination is administered to all PHI applicants, regardless of the position they 
seek. Because a rank of Pill is required for assignment to many non-patrol 
positions (such as vice and narcotics), the written test contains general 
questions about Department policies and procedures and does not attempt to 



126 Chapter 7: Training 



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measure an applicant's aptitude for training or, indeed, for patrol work. Officers 
who pass the written examination may apply for Pill positions as they become 
available. An officer with more than 10 years of LAPD experience need not take 
the written examination. 

The Department has no other formal criteria for eligibility for FTO 
positions. In particular, there are no formal eligibility or disqualification criteria 
based on applicants' disciplinary records. In the four divisions the Commission 
studied, 93 of the 227 FTOs were selected as FTOs after personnel complaints 
were sustained against them. Fourteen of those officers were promoted to FTO 
positions despite having been disciplined for use of excessive force or 
improper tactics, Five others were promoted despite having been disciplined 
for improper use of force (such as domestic violence) during off-duty hours. 

For example, one FTO had been disciplined, while still on probation, 
for falsifying his daily activities log to cover up the length of time his partner 
spent escorting a rape victim back to her apartment. In fact, during that time, 
the partner sexually assaulted the woman and was terminated for that offense. 
About one year before his promotion to FTO, the same officer, while off-duty, 
also fired shots at two citizens who rear-ended his car. Following his 
promotion, this officer was disciplined for being discourteous to a citizen, for 
firing shots at a suspected prowler escaping from his back yard, and for 
beating his wife. 

Another FTO had been disciplined, when he was still on probation, 
for using excessive force to subdue a fleeing suspect. Another was promoted 
to FTO after receiving a sustained complaint for improper tactics when he 
unnecessarily struck a citizen in the stomach, head, chest and back with his 
baton and slammed the citizen's head into an elevator door. This officer also 
pushed the citizen's wife to the ground during this altercation. Two other 
officers were promoted to FTO after they were disciplined for hitting handcuffed 
suspects. In yet another incident an officer later promoted to FTO was 
disciplined for his failure to prevent the beating of a suspect following a high- 
speed pursuit. 

Final selection of FTOs from among the applicants is left to the 
discretion of the division command. In most divisions applicants are 
interviewed by one or two superior officers (usually lieutenants), who then either 
select the FTOs or make recommepdations to their commanding officer. The 



Chapter 7: Training 1 27 



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selection criteria vary widely among divisions. Many of the FTOs interviewed 
said that the process does not focus on the applicants' aptitude for training. 

Only a few of the FTOs interviewed stated that they sought promotion 
to a PIII/FTO position because they had an interest in training. A majority 
indicated that they applied because they viewed those positions as a "stepping 
stone" to future promotions. (Most PHI assignments are as FTOs.) The 
importance of FTOs in developing qualified police officers should be 
emphasized by the Department, and officers with an aptitude for and interest in 
training should be given significant compensation and promotion incentives to 
accept FTO positions. 

Virtually all of the FTOs interviewed expressed concern that police 
officers have been promoted to FTO positions too quickly, a practice either 
created or exacerbated by the 1989-90 hiring expansion referred to in Chapter 
6. Most stated that officers with only two or three years' experience lack the 
maturity and patrol experience necessary to train probationers. To the extent 
the available pool of officers permits restricting FTOs to officers with four or five 
years of field experience, the Commission agrees that additional experience 
should be required. 

Training And Evaluation of FTOs 

Commander Bostic testified that FTO training is nonexistent: "Field 
training officers are made field training officers on a Friday afternoon and 
Monday they go to work." 

The Department's only formal FTO training is an optional 40-hour 
FTO School, conducted at the Academy in five eight-hour sessions. Based on 
a review of personnel files, it appears that as many as 86 of the 227 FTOs never 
attended FTO School; most of those who did attended months or even years 
after being promoted. (Many who did attend either could not recall having 
done so or could not remember what was taught.) Only five of the officers 
attended the school before they began training probationers. 

To the extent the FTOs interviewed could recall, the vast majority 
stated that the classes at FTO School focused largely on filling out evaluation 
forms properly. Many complained that the school provided no instruction on 
how to train probationers. No cultural awareness training was given, a 
particularly significant omission because the Academy began such training only 



1 28 Chapter 7: Training 



Report of the Independent Commission 



in 1984 and a number of these FTOs graduated from the Academy prior to that 
time. A few officers specifically stated that a problem with the school was its 
failure to address methods of teaching appropriate use of force practices to 
probationers. 

The FTO School's entire curriculum was revised effective January 7, 
1991. The revised curriculum, however, as its predecessors, apparently 
includes no cultural sensitivity or awareness training, nor does it instruct 
training officers to encourage their probationers to utilize the communication 
skills taught at the Academy. 

FTOs, like all sworn members of the LAPD, receive formal 
performance evaluation from their supervisors every six months, but the 
evaluation form that is used contains nothing specifically devoted to the 
officers' training ability. Most of the FTOs interviewed stated that, although their 
evaluations generally "mentioned" training abilities, performance in training 
probationers was not emphasized. Instead, like all other patrol officers, FTOs 
are evaluated on their "productivity" based on statistical measures such as 
citations issued, arrests made and response time. This evaluation standard 
inevitably results in less attention being devoted to training probationers. 

Probationers 

Assignment and Rotation of Probationers 

Probationers are assigned to divisions after graduation based upon 
the Department's analysis of staffing needs. No divisions are singled out as 
"training" divisions. Division watch commanders and other supervisory 
personnel have complete discretion in assigning probationers to particular 
FTOs. Assignment practices vary considerably from division to division, but in 
general, FTOs who are regarded as effective trainers tend to be assigned to 
probationers who are experiencing problems or not performing adequately. 

The Department's FTO Manual indicates that a probationer should be 
assigned a new FTO every two months, but each division appears to have 
developed its own rotation practices. A large majority of the officers 
interviewed stated that they work with a probationer for between one and three 
deployment periods (a deployment period is approximately one month). 



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Probationers do not, however, always work with their assigned FTOs. 
Many FTOs indicated that they work with their probationers at most two or 
three days a week. On other occasions, the probationer works with another 
FTO, with a PI I in need of a partner or even with other probationers. Many 
divisions have abandoned their prior practice of assigning two FTOs to each 
probationer so that at least one FTO would be likely to be available to work with 
the probationer at any given time. Many probationers now apparently spend as 
much on-duty time with officers who have received no FTO instruction 
whatsoever as they do with FTOs. 

Most of the FTOs strongly supported regular rotation of probationers 
among FTOs. Rotation gives a probationer exposure to several different 
methods of doing the job and to a healthy variety of attitudes about police 
work. Rotation to different watches, in particular, gives probationers an 
opportunity to experience the varied atmosphere on different watches in the 
same division. Other FTOs stated that regular rotation keeps the evaluation 
process objective by preventing an FTO from becoming too close personally to 
a probationer, or allowing a personality conflict to affect the evaluation, In the 
course of rotation, attention should be paid to exposing probationers to 
diversity among trainers. 

Training of Probationers 

The most influential and effective training received by a probationer 
comes from the example set by his or her FTO. If a probationer works with an 
FTO who is adept at "talking people into jail" and is courteous, that probationer 
is likely to acquire the same skills. Conversely, if a probationer works with an 
FTO whose usual conduct is to be rude or arrogant, the probationer may be 
taught by example to accept those attitudes as appropriate. 

The example set by FTOs is particularly important in teaching 
appropriate use of force. Probationers enter the field from the Academy with 
substantial technical training about how to use force techniques, but with little 
practical experience in judging when force is warranted. Many FTOs have 
stated that probationers therefore tend to resort to the use of force too quickly. 
These FTOs said that they believe one of their most important tasks is to show 
probationers how to "calm down" and use effective communication as an 
alternative to force. 



130 Chapter 7: Training 



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Most FTOs interviewed listed developing effective communications 
skills in their probationers as an important objective. A majority stated that they 
specifically instruct probationers to explain to citizens the reasons why the 
citizens are being stopped or detained. While describing their own efforts at 
teaching effective communication, however, the same FTOs noted that many of 
their fellow FTOs do not share their emphasis on verbal skills. Several officers 
asserted that many FTOs lack good communication skills and therefore are 
incapable of imparting such skills to their probationers. 

Although acknowledging the importance of communication, virtually 
all of the FTOs interviewed by the Commission staff stated that their primary 
objective in training probationers is to instill good "officer safety skills." In a 
statement characteristic of those made by most FTOs, one training officer 
explained that when he is assigned to a new probationer, the first thing he tells 
the probationer is, "! hope you realize that you could get killed tonight. What 
we want to do is minimize that risk." 

The high levels of fear and anxiety exhibited by FTOs color the 
training provided to probationers. The probationers' world quickly is divided by 
their FTOs into "we/they" categories. One FTO stated that he routinely draws 
his gun whenever he approaches "suspicious" people, even though LAPD 
policy states that a gun should not be drawn unless the officer anticipates an 
imminent need to use deadly force. This officer further stated that he also 
encourages his probationers to draw their guns if they feel "uneasy" about 
citizens encountered in the field. Other FTOs noted that they routinely search 
or handcuff citizens, even absent reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or 
danger, in order to increase their own "comfort" level. These FTOs stated that 
they encourage their probationers to follow the same rule of "search or 
handcuff first, talk later." 

The "we/they" mentality is exacerbated by the failure to integrate 
cultural awareness or sensitivity training into field training. Few of the FTOs 
devote any attention to teaching probationers how to interact effectively and 
respectfully with minorities. Instead, probationers are often exposed to the 
derogatory comments, slurs and jokes that many officers have attempted to 
characterize as "locker-room" banter or good-natured fun. The FTO interviews 
provide evidence that this problem is particularly acute in reference to gay men 
and lesbians. 



Chapter 7: Training 131 



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Evaluation of Probationers 

Probationers receive a formal written evaluation from their FTOs twice 
each month for the first six months of probation, and once each month for the 
next six months. The FTO is encouraged, but not required, to make daily 
notations regarding the probationer's progress. Several FTOs reported that 
their superiors require them to evaluate probationers daily. The evaluations 
consist of a standard form containing rating boxes for 30 skills and attributes, 
including contact with the public, report writing, performance under stress, 
officer safety, "control of conflict," and use of the radio and MDT. 

Virtually all of the FTOs interviewed expressed dissatisfaction with the 
large amount of paperwork that the evaluation process entails. Substantial time 
is shifted away from actual training, and FTOs are forced either to decrease the 
amount of time they spend in the field or to spend considerable time after their 
shifts completing the necessary paperwork, 

When a probationer is performing poorly, the burden of documenting 
deficiencies is apparently even greater, Many of the FTOs stated that it is 
extremely difficult to terminate even probationers whose weaknesses are 
meticulously documented. As a result, many FTOs simply do not negatively 
evaluate their probationers' performance. They prefer, instead, to pass the 
problem probationers to other FTOs, who may or may not decide to create the 
documentation necessary for termination, 

The reason most FTOs offered for their attempts to have 
probationers terminated was poor officer safety skills. Although many of the 
FTOs said they emphasized communication and human relations skills in 
training their probationers, none of those FTOs reported ever seeking to 
terminate a probationer based upon the probationer's inability to deal 
appropriately with the public. 

Reporting of Police Misconduct 

Virtually all of the FTOs interviewed stated that they would report serious 
police misconduct, and that they instruct their probationers to do likewise. Yet 
only a few in fact had ever reported misconduct or made a complaint against a 
fellow officer. This conflict between policy and practice was evidenced further 
by an apparent "code of silence," found in a review of the FTOs' personnel files. 



1 32 Chapter 7: Training 



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Twelve of the FTOs in the four divisions studied had been disciplined for 
dishonesty. For example, the officers had failed to report misconduct they 
witnessed, lied about their own involvement in an incident, or agreed to lie 
about other officers' involvement in an incident. In addition, in at least four 
incidents a probationer "covered" for his FTO s misconduct or refused to 
contradict his FTO's version of an encounter with a citizen. In one incident, 
both the FTO and the probationer were disciplined for using excessive force to 
subdue a suspect. 

CONTINUING EDUCATION 

Roll Call and Other In-Service Training 

Patrol officers start each day with roll call that lasts approximately 45 
minutes to an hour. During roll call watch commanders provide information 
affecting the officers' performance of their jobs, for example, updates on crime 
trends within the division. A portion of each roll call (usually 20 minutes or less) 
is devoted to training. Typical roll call training involves the watch commander 
lecturing to the officers, Many watch commanders simply read the 
Department's policy on a given topic without any discussion of the practical 
application of that policy in the field. 

Roll call training should serve as a means to update veteran officers on 
new policies, procedures, and tactics developed by the Department since they 
were at the Academy, as well as to review or practice current policies, 
procedures, and tactics, The current quality of roll call training varies widely 
from division to division. Although the Department develops a schedule of 
topics to be covered each month, with certain topics repeated on a regular 
basis, it does not monitor the presentation or actual content of the training 
provided in each division. Furthermore, few watch commanders have been 
trained to teach their officers effectively, and watch commanders do not receive 
any training on the topics that they must cover beyond receiving the 
Department's written policies. Lack of training assistance is particularly acute in 
those areas, such as cultural awareness and sensitivity, that have only recently 
been added to the Academy curriculum and therefore may be largely unfamiliar 
to the watch commanders. Commander Bostic candidly admitted that roll call 
training in the Department is a "disaster. 11 



Chapter 7; Training 133 



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In addition to roll call training, the Department periodically provides in- 
service training on new techniques and tactics that are taught at the Academy. 
In-service training days are one of the few opportunities for patrol officers to 
receive practical application training in tactics, including those related to the 
use of force. However, the Department neither mandates nor monitors in- 
service training. Division commanders have discretion to conduct in-service 
days and to design the training program, When in-service training is 
conducted, the division typically is on maximum deployment, with half its 
officers in training, and the other half in the field. As a result, some area 
commanders are reluctant to schedule in-service training with any frequency. 
As with roll call training, therefore, there is no consistency in the usefulness of 
these programs across the Department. 

Training of Sergeants, Lieutenants, and Captains 

Sergeants, lieutenants, and captains are expected to be leaders as well as 
administrators and should therefore receive formal leadership training including 
command accountability. Supervisory and command officers must learn to be 
role models, to recognize problems in other officers, and to assist troubled 
officers through such difficulties. While command staff currently receive some 
training in these areas, the training emphasis is on administrative skills not 
leadership or accountability. By re-focusing the primary goal to leadership and 
command accountability, those officers may develop greater ability to 
supervise their subordinates and to solve potential behavioral problems in other 
officers. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Academy Training 

The overall high quality of Academy training should be maintained. We 
offer the following recommendations to further improve it: 

1. The PTA should be identified and appointed as soon as 
possible, consistent with proper selection procedures. 

2. Human relations/cultural awareness and verbal skills training 
should be reviewed by the PTA and PAC, who should, among other things, 
consider expanding and moving those classes to the beginning of the 



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curriculum. Consideration should be given to integrating those skills with the 
tactical, use of force, physical, and foreign language training through the use of 
lifelike" situation simulations. 

3. Foreign language training, especially Spanish, should be 
reviewed by the PTA to correct present deficiencies. In particular, 
consideration should be given to methods of motivating recruits to develop 
these skills. Officers with an interest in developing broader language skills 
should be encouraged to do so through appropriate incentives. 

4. Recruits should spend a significant amount of time in the field 
before graduation or should return to the Academy for additional training after 
having spent a period of time in the field. 

5. The Academy's commanding officer should serve a minimum 
period of time in that position, such as three years, and have greater discretion 
to remove instructional staff. Instructional staff should have either a minimum 
period of field experience, such as five years, or some unique expertise. The 
term of service for instructors should be limited to a specified period, such as 
five years. 

6. The Academy should establish high performance standards in 
academic as well as physical fitness endeavors for recruits to qualify for 
graduation. The Academy should terminate those recruits who fail to meet 
those standards. 

Field Training 

1. Probationers' training should include systematic instruction on 
the use of verbal skills, recognition of when force is appropriately used, and 
cultural awareness and sensitivity. 

2. The Department should encourage and facilitate FTO efforts to 
terminate unsatisfactory probationers, including those exhibiting an inability to 
interact appropriately with the public. 

3. Uniform criteria for selection of FTOs should be established. To 
the extent possible with the existing pool of officers, FTOs should be required 
to have at least five years 1 field experience. Priority should be given to officers 
with the ability and interest to train junior officers. 

4. Officers with sustained complaints for use of excessive force or 
other serious violations of Departmental policy within the past five years should 



Chapter 7: Training 1 35 



Report of the Independent Commission 



be disqualified from serving as FTOs, except as specifically approved for the 
position under guidelines established by the Department. In addition, as is now 
done by at least some commanders, an officer's entire disciplinary record, 
including unsustained complaints and the officer's history of use of force, 
should be weighed in the FTO selection process, 

5. To become FTOs, officers should be required to pass written 
and oral tests designed to measure communications skills, teaching aptitude 
and knowledge of Departmental policies regarding appropriate use of force, 
cultural sensitivity, community relations, and nondiscrimination. Officers with 
an aptitude for and interest in training junior officers should be encouraged to 
apply for FTO positions. The Department should provide compensation and 
promotion incentives to encourage qualified officers to accept those positions. 

6. Successful completion of FTO School should be required 
before an FTO begins training probationers. The FTO School curriculum 
should be further modified to place greater emphasis on communications 
skills, teaching skills, appropriate use of force, and sensitivity to specific cultural 
differences within Los Angeles. FTO training should also include a substantial 
continuing education component. 

Continuing Education 

1. The Academy should take responsibility for roll call and other 
in-service training by providing a pool of officers whose function is supervising 
roll call training and the implementation of effective in-service training days. 
The Academy should develop detailed training outlines that every division 
would use and have Academy instructors available to assist watch 
commanders to implement those training programs. 

2. Command accountability and effective supervisory techniques 
should be the primary focus of the training of sergeants, lieutenants, and 
captains. 



136 Chapter 7: Training 



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Chapter Eight: 

Promotion, Assignment, and Other 
Personnel Issues 

PROMOTION 139 

LAPD's Promotion System 139 

Complaint History and Promotions 140 

ASSIGNMENT AND TRANSFER 142 

Desirable Assignments and Transfers 142 

Assignment of Officers With Significant Complaint Histories 142 

OTHER PERSONNEL ISSUES 145 

Rotation of Police Officers 145 

Emphasis on Patrol 146 

Stress Disability Pensions 146 

RECOMMENDATIONS 148 

Promotion 148 

Assignment and Transfer 148 

Other Personnel Issues 148 



Chapter 8: Promotion. Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 137 



Report of the Independent Commission 



138 Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"We transferred [an officer involved in the 
39th and Dalton incident] to Foothill to get 
him the heck away from South Los 

Angeles So we took him out of the 

field. After 39th and Dalton and [another] 
incident, we decided he shouldn't be in the 
field. He was supposed to go to work at 
the desk. . ." 

LAPD Assistant Chief 
David Dotson 



Chapter Eight: 

Promotion, Assignment, and 

Other Personnel Issues 

PROMOTION 

LAPD's Promotion System 

There are two types of sworn personnel advancement within the LAPD: 
promotion in rank and advancement in paygrade. Rank promotions are 
decided through a civil service examination system. Promotions in grade (that 
is, promotions within a rank, such as from sergeant I to sergeant II) are 
discretionary within the LAPD. 

The procedure for promotion from police officer to sergeant begins with a 
multiple choice examination, which counts for 40% of the candidate's total 
score. Those who pass the written test then proceed to an oral session in front 
of an Interview Board made up generally of two captains, a community 
member, and an Interview Specialist, chosen by the Civil Service Commission. 
That Board considers the candidate's central personnel "package," maintained 
at LAPD headquarters, which includes performance evaluations, major 
commendations, educational and training background, former LAPD 
assignments, and all sustained complaints. The Board also considers an essay 
written by the candidate. 



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Report of the Independent Commission 



Following the Interview Board session, candidates are ranked by "whole 
scores" (e.g., all candidates at 97 followed by all at 96 and so forth). 
Candidates within whole scores are then ranked by a panel of captains, and all 
promotions to sergeant are made in rank order. A similar process is utilized for 
promotions to lieutenant. 

In addition to rank promotion, the LAPD provides paygrades for officers 
within Civil Service positions such as police officer, detective, and sergeant. 
These paygrade advancements are outside the City's civil service system and 
are discretionary within the LAPD. 

The LAPD provides three paygrades for officers below the rank of sergeant. 
An Academy graduate on probation is a police officer I. That officer becomes 
police officer II ("PH") upon successful completion of probation. A Pll advances 
to the police officer III ("PHI") paygrade by passing an LAPD written examination 
and then applying for, and being appointed to, an appropriate position. The 
most common Pill position is field training officer, a position discussed in 
Chapter 7. The various division commanding officers have broad discretion to 
select among qualified applicants for a PIN position. Paygrade advancements 
within higher ranks are entirely discretionary. 

Complaint History and Promotions 

The information available to the Civil Service Interview Boards regarding a 
candidate's complaint history and disciplinary record is limited. Sustained 
complaints are provided, but complaints that are not sustained (even if 
numerous) are not provided. With this limited information, the Interview Board 
may not be aware of disturbing patterns of allegations of excessive force that 
were held not sustained. Moreover, as illustrated with respect to one group of 
officers discussed in Chapter 3, personnel evaluation reports (which are 
provided to the Interview Board) often paint unduly favorable pictures of officers 
who appear to have significant problems in their use of excessive force. 

Including only sustained complaints in the Board's evaluation may leave an 
incomplete perspective, partly because so few excessive force complaints are 
ultimately sustained. Thus, failing to include at least information regarding not 
sustained complaints in the material provided to the Interview Board deprives 
the promoting authority of information that may be highly relevant to the 
officer's relationship with the public. (Unlike a "not sustained" complaint, which 



140 Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 



Report of the Independent Commission 



is in essence simply a complaint that the LAPD could not resolve on the merits 
one way or the other, complaints deemed "unfounded" or "exonerated" reflect 
an affirmative determination that the officer engaged in no misconduct. The 
Commission does not recommend that information relating to these latter two 
categories of complaints be provided to the Interview Board.) 

This is not to say that a past complaint history, even including a sustained 
complaint for excessive force, must automatically disqualify an officer from 
promotion or paygrade advancement. Given proper training, counseling, and 
(where appropriate) discipline, an officer with such a history may nonetheless 
be well qualified for promotion. Before that decision can be made, though, an 
Interview Board should consider the nature of the complaint history, what 
counseling or training the officer has received, and objective indicia (such as 
the passage of time with no further complaints) that the problem has been 
resolved. 

An officer's complaint history is also vital in making an informed decision 
by the Department as to paygrade advancement, especially to a PHI position. 
According to our review, 27 of the 44 officers discussed in Chapter 3 as having 
the greatest concentration of excessive force and improper tactics complaints 
against them were Pills. Of those, 11 had a history of one or more unsustained 
complaints for excessive force or improper tactics prior to their advancement 
information that, at least in narrative form, was unavailable to the division 
commanding officer making the paygrade advancement decision. Six others 
had a record of sustained excessive force or improper tactics complaints prior 
to their advancement. 

The critical positions of field training officer and field sergeant must be 
given to those demonstrating an ability to train and supervise by example. 
Where a field training officer uses excessive force, the probationers may learn 
to do the same. Similarly, where the sergeant in the field either participates in 
misconduct, or observes it and does nothing, the wrong message is sent to the 
officers under his or her supervision. 

Interview Boards, as well as commanding officers making discretionary 
pay grade advancement decisions, need a more complete complaint history for 
applicants than is presently available. Although sustained complaints are 
certainly important to the decision-making process, a history of "not sustained" 



Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 141 



Report of the Independent Commission 



complaints, especially if they involve a similar fact pattern, can be equally 
telling. 

Accordingly, the Commission recommends that a complaint history 
including "sustained" and "not sustained" charges should be included both in 
the central and divisional personnel files, This history, at least for "not 
sustained" complaints, need not include the entire complaint investigation. 
Rather, a summary similar to what the LAPD sends to the Police Commission 
(which includes a short narrative) is sufficient. Access to the complete file 
should for each summarized complaint be available on request for 
consideration in rank promotion and paygrade advancement. 

ASSIGNMENT AND TRANSFER 

Desirable Assignments and Transfers 

In addition to promotions and paygrade advancements, there are desirable 
assignments such as "coveted positions" generally seen as a stepping-stone to 
promotion. The decision of who gets these assignments is entirely 
discretionary; no civil service or other constraints apply so long as the applicant 
is of an appropriate rank and paygrade. 

The person making the assignment or transfer decision generally has 
available the same information as those making paygrade decisions, and so 
has the same limitations. In order to use these desirable assignments as 
incentives to encourage officers to use force appropriately, the additional 
complaint information outlined above should be available for assignment 
purposes. 

Assignments of Officers With Significant Complaint Histories 

Assignments can also be used at the LAPD, in conjunction with other 
personnel policies, to deal with problem officers who may be using force 
improperly or excessively. For example, where training and counseling are not 
effective with such officers, assignments may be available within the division 
that would not expose the officer to the situations giving rise to the 
inappropriate behavior. 

Another technique of assignment is the pairing of partners so that a 
problem officer is teamed, for example, with a more experienced officer with 
communication skills that may lessen the need for use of force. On the other 



142 Chapter 8; Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 



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hand, assigning the problem officer to work with a partner with whom he or she 
has been involved in repeated incidents of force might well exacerbate the 
difficulties of both officers. 

Upon order of the Chief of Police, an officer may be transferred 
administratively to another division. Where a transfer is appropriate, the 
transferring division commanding officer should note in the officer's file the 
types of duty for which that officer is not suited or requires close supervision. 
That information would be placed in context through the narrative complaint 
history discussed above. 

The dangers of inattention to excessive force problems in assignment and 
pairing of officers is illustrated by a 1988 incident similar in some respects to 
the Rodney King incident. An African-American man was severely beaten 
following a car chase by two veteran LAPD officers with long histories of 
personnel complaints against them for excessive force. According to 
eyewitnesses, a sergeant joined them in kicking and beating the prone suspect 
while he was lying on the ground and after he was handcuffed. The officers 
then left the suspect handcuffed and bleeding with serious injuries for 30 to 45 
minutes before taking the suspect to the hospital. They told the doctor that the 
suspect's injuries were caused by a traffic accident following the pursuit, a 
claim that the doctor questioned. The division's initial investigation was 
rejected as inadequate by the Internal Affairs Division, which conducted its own 
investigation. Ultimately, the captain who adjudicated the complaint criticized 
the supervisory "lapse" that had allowed the two violence prone officers to work 
together: 

I am very concerned that [the two officers who 
initiated the pursuit], who were being 
administratively transferred because of their 
propensity for personnel complaints, were allowed 
to team up as partners. Their prior conduct should 
have [precluded] this from ever occurring. 
Because there was a lapse in supervisory insight, 
this whole incident was placed in motion. 

As the captain's comment indicates, these two officers were apparently in 
the process of being administratively transferred to another division "because 
of their propensity for personnel complaints/ 1 (This incident occurred in the 
transferring division.) Assistant Chief Dotson noted in his testimony the 



Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 143 



Report of the Independent Commission 



dangers of such transfers that do not adequately address the officers' 
underlying problem: 



DOTSON: There was a fellow who was involved in the 
39th and Dalton [incident], We transferred 
him to Foothill to get him the heck away from 
South Los Angeles. Now he got there and 
about one of his first acts was to take off his 
Sam Brown belt and challenge somebody to 
fight out on the street, and eventually, 
headbutted him, whatever, with his forehead, 
broke the guy's lip, and so on. So, we took 
him out of the field. After 39th and Dalton and 
that incident, we decided he shouldn't be in 
the field. He was supposed to go to work at 
the desk, where he at least would have to 
come around the desk to assault somebody. 

★ * * 



So, he got tired of working the desk and said, 
could I go work detective, so I'll help 'em 
process the paper in detectives. That' d be 
more interesting than working this desk. I'm 
going nuts. So, he was allowed to go to 
detective. After a couple days there, he read 
a crime report that listed a named suspect. 
He said, oh, I think Til go out and arrest him, 
and off he went. And the next day, in the 
newspaper it described how he'd made this 
unlawful arrest, there was a search. So we 
took him - my God, don't you guys 
understand? He can't be out there. He can't 
be trusted. We're still adjudicating all these 
complaints. So they pulled him back in. 

* * * 

So, a couple of weeks later, I discovered 
where did they put him, in Foothill jail. Now 
there is no place that I know of where, if you 
have a tendency toward abusing people, you 
can do it more easily than in jail. The 
management out there didn't understand 
those kinds of sensitivities. 

In short, LAPD management can use assignments and transfers in a variety 
of ways to promote appropriate use of force and to control problem officers. 
When the LAPD ignores or overlooks these objectives in assignment and 



144 Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 



Report of the Independent Commission 



transferring officers (as in the examples discussed above), its management 
must be held accountable for the consequences. 

OTHER PERSONNEL ISSUES 

Rotation of Patrol Officers 

Since at least 1980, the Department has permitted intra-Departmental 
transfers at the request of non-probationary sergeants and patrol officers under 
a procedure adopted by agreement between the Chief of Police and the Police 
Protective League, embodied in "Memorandum No. 4." A commanding officer 
of a given geographic division who needs to have replacements added to his or 
her command is entitled to select someone of his or her choosing so long as 
the next opening that becomes available is chosen from the top of a list 
containing the names of all officers seeking transfer into that division. Thus, for 
every two sergeants or two patrol officers transferring into a division, one must 
be taken from the list. 

Under the present system, the sergeants and patrol officers tend, after a 
period of time on the force, to remain in one particular geographic area unless 
they are promoted or ask to be transferred. The divisions within the heart of 
Los Angeles are often referred to as "fast" divisions, where crime rates are high 
and police officers constantly confront violent situations. Divisions in Valley 
Bureau, Harbor Division, and West Los Angeles Division, are less active. It is 
widely perceived that many officers seek assignment to these less demanding 
areas. 

Although the current assignment policy offers many officers the opportunity 
to work close to home, it tends to work against ethnic and racial diversity 
among divisions. A pattern has developed of white officers patrolling white 
neighborhoods. The command officers interviewed were virtually unanimous in 
their opposition to this present assignment policy. Nearly all of the patrol 
officers interviewed believe that rotation to different divisions, and the diversity 
of policing functions available in the different geographic areas of the City, are 
valuable in developing a wide range of experiences as an LAPD officer. The 
more experienced an officer, the more likely he or she will be able to deal with 
difficult situations without overreacting or escalating the use of force 
inappropriately. Finally, many officers believe that a rotation system would 
reduce the problems of cliques and regularly bring new energy to a division. 



Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 145 



Report of the Independent Commission 



The Commission believes that assignment procedures should be modified 
to ensure that police officers work in a wide range of functions and varied patrol 
locations during the course of their careers, and that they rotate through 
different divisions. Such a rotation program will not only increase the quality of 
the officers by way of experience and expertise, but will also enable the 
residents of this City to have police patrols with greater diversity, 

Emphasis on Patrol 

Patrol is perhaps the most basic function of the LAPD. Yet it is almost 
unanimously seen within the Department as a "dead end" assignment that an 
officer should transfer out of as soon as possible. It is easier to be promoted to 
sergeant having had experience from a non-patrol position, and to be 
promoted beyond sergeant it is perceived to be necessary to move outside the 
patrol function. Thus, officers are encouraged, as a practical matter, to transfer 
out of patrol quickly. 

Even so, and not surprisingly, officers generally agree that the City is better 
protected and served when the Department's most experienced officers are in 
the field. These officers also agree that it is easier for them to perform their own 
duties when they are working with experienced officers. 

To rectify this problem, the Department must add incentives for some of its 
best officers to remain in patrol. Such incentives can include, for example, 
higher pay grades or recognition of a successful history in patrol for promotion 
purposes. In addition, the Department should consider rotating qualified 
officers back into patrol after a reasonable tour of duty in another assignment. 

Stress Disability Pensions 

A number of officers at the scene of the King incident reportedly claimed 
"acute anxiety" and "severe emotional stress" - often a precursor for a stress 
pension application. A single disability pension can cost the taxpayers of this 
City close to one million dollars over the lifetime of the employee. Further, 
officers who joined the Department before 1980 are eligible to receive fifty to 
ninety percent of their salary tax-free for life regardless of whether they are later 
employed elsewhere. As a result of a City Charter amendment, officers joining 
the LAPD after 1980 are eligible for disability pensions ranging only from thirty 



146 Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 



Report of the Independent Commission 



to fifty percent. Since 1987, between twenty-six and thirty-one percent of all 
disability pensions sought have been pension applications related to stress. 

Many officers receive stress pensions based on expressions of frustration 
with the system. As one member of the Board of Pension Commissioners 
complained, "In the LAPD, if you don't like your job, see a psychologist" 
Unfortunately, this problem is particularly evident in claims from officers with a 
disciplinary history. 

The Commission has reviewed the 36 disability pension claims filed by 
LAPD officers between 1988 and 1990. The typical stress disability pension 
applicant is a patrol officer with ten to fifteen years of service who has not 
advanced in the Department and reports a sense of frustration and 
dissatisfaction with a police career. Of those 36 officers, 26 had one or more 
personnel complaints lodged against him or her, and a majority were the 
subject of at least one complaint of excessive force. Most had a history of 
multiple sustained complaints. 

Several witnesses have stated that a stress disability pension provides an 
"escape hatch" for officers facing disciplinary proceedings. The Department 
does not discontinue an investigation due to a pension filing. If such a pension 
is granted, however, the officer is retired from service and is not subject to 
Department discipline. 

Most stress pension applicants do not point to a single precipitating 
incident as the cause of stress. Instead, they claim that the stress is 
cumulative. The pension application frequently attributes stress to "repetitive 
emotional trauma" experienced during employment as a police officer. For 
many officers this is no doubt true; however, there remain police officers who 
file for pensions following a particularly serious charge of misconduct or when 
faced with discipline. 



Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 147 



Report of the Independent Commission 



RECOMMENDATIONS 

Promotion 

1. Summaries of not sustained complaints, as well as the sustained 
complaint information that is presently available, should be included in an 
officer's central and division personnel files. This history could be in the form of 
a short allegation summary, similar to that provided to the Police Commission 
in the LAPD Weekly Summary of Adjudicated Complaints. The full complaint 
file should be available for review on request. These complaints, or complaint 
summaries, should be available to, and carefully considered by, Interview 
Boards and those making discretionary paygrade advancement decisions. 

2. An officer's decision to remain in patrol (especially where that 
officer's record demonstrates the qualifications to transfer out of patrol) should 
be a positive factor in promotion decisions. 

Assignment and Transfer 

! As with promotions, histories of "sustained" and "not sustained" 
complaints should be available to managerial officers for use in making 
desirable assignments. This use, coupled with the similar use in promotions, 
will help to demonstrate the LAPD's priority on the appropriate restraint in the 
use of force by patrol officers. 

2. Administrative assignments should not be used simply to transfer a 
problem officer from one division to another. Rather, division commanding 
officers should enroll such an officer in a formal or informal training or 
counseling program. If that program is unsuccessful, consideration should be 
given to an assignment that will not place the officer in the position of repeating 
his or her inappropriate conduct. Finally, if an administrative transfer is 
necessary, an explicit statement as to any appropriate assignment limitations 
should be included with the transfer. Such officers should not be transferred to 
the jail division, 

Other Personnel Issues 

1. The assignment policy for patrol officers should be modified to 
require periodic, mandatory rotations every five years in a manner designed to 
increase ethnic and gender diversity among divisions, and to expose officers to 



148 Chapter 8; Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 



Report of the Independent Commission 



a broad variety of division experiences. Officers should be rotated back into 
patrol after reasonable tours of duty in non-patroi assignments, 

2. Increased rewards for patrol functions should be provided. The 
Department should consider, for example, augmenting the longevity pay 
program already in place. 

3. The Commission has elsewhere in this Report recommended that 
officers be retested psychologically during their careers. By recognizing and 
treating early signs of stress, the Department would reduce the number of 
stress disability pension applications while improving officer well-being and 
self-control. The Behavioral Science Services Section can be utilized to aid 
both in helping to treat stress and in training supervisory officers to recognize 
stress symptoms in those they supervise. 

4. The California Labor Code creates an exception for workers' 
compensation awards that permits a city to deny workers' compensation 
benefits to a peace officer whose departmental regulations expressly prohibit 
the activity giving rise to the officer's injury, disability, or death. The 
Commission supports a City Charter amendment that would direct the Board of 
Pension Commissioners, based on that Labor Code provision, to take it into 
account as a negative factor if an officer's disability is a direct result of serious 
misconduct. 



Chapter 8: Promotion, Assignment, and Other Personnel Issues 149 



Report of the Independent Commission 



150 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Nine: 
Complaints and Discipline 



CURRENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURES; 

INTAKE, INVESTIGATION, AND ADJUDICATION ................................ 154 

Complaint Intake ........ 154 

Investigation 154 

Classification, Adjudication, and Punishment 155 

PROBLEMS WITH THE CURRENT SYSTEM 158 

Complaint Intake 158 

Investigation ... 160 

Classification and Adjudication...... 162 

Punishment 165 

THE CODE OF SILENCE 168 

THE NEED FOR REFORM: THE COMMISSION'S 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE 171 

Recommendation 1 : Intake 1 73 

Recommendation 2: Investigation 174 

Recommendation 3: Classification and Adjudication 175 

Recommendation 4; Punishment 177 

Recommendation 5: Public Accountability 178 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 151 



Report of the Independent Commission 



152 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



"[W]hen an officer finally gets fed up and 
comes forward to speak the truth, that will 
mark the end of his or her police career. 
The police profession will not tolerate it, 
and civilian authorities will close their eyes 
when the retaliatory machinery comes 
down on the officer. " 

Former LAPD Officer Brenda 
Grinston, Los Angeles Times, 
July 2, 1991 



Chapter Nine: 
Complaints and Discipline 



No area of police operations received more adverse comment during the 
Commission's public hearings than the Department's handling of citizen 
complaints against LAPD officers, particularly allegations involving excessive 
use of force. Many community groups and members of the general public 
firmly believe that the Department is incapable of disciplining its own officers. 

Statistics make the public's frustration understandable. As the following 
table shows (Table 9-1), of the 3,419 allegations of excessive force or improper 
tactics initiated by members of the public from 1986 through 1990, only 103 
(3,0%) were sustained. Of the 2,152 allegations involving excessive force, only 
42 (2.0%) were sustained. 

We recognize that many specious complaints are made against police 
officers and that making a complaint can be a tactic designed to divert attention 
from the complainant's wrongdoing. We nevertheless believe that, in cases 
involving allegations of excessive force, the system is unfairly skewed against 
the complainant. Our study indicates that there are significant problems with 
the initiation, investigation, and classification of complaints. To eliminate these 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 153 



TABLE 9-1 



DISPOSITION OF ALLEGATIONS OF EXCESSIVE FORCE 
OR IMPROPER TACTICS IN COMPLAINTS BY THE PUBLIC 

3,419 TOTAL ALLEGATIONS FROM JANUARY 1986 THROUGH DECEMBER 1990 



NOT SUSTAINED 47.0% 



SUSTAINED 3.0% 




UNKNOWN 0.2% 



EXONERATED 12.0% 



UNFOUNDED 37.8% 



Source: LAPD Complaint Database. 



Report of the Independent Commission 



problems, we recommend that the discipline system be restructured fully and 
that the operation of that system be open to meaningful public review by a 
civilian authority. To ensure that review, we recommend establishment of an 
Office of the Inspector General within the Police Commission, with responsibility 
to audit and oversee the disciplinary process, participate in the adjudication 
and punishment of the most serious cases, and report to the Police 
Commission and its newly created Chief of Staff. 

CURRENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURES: 
INTAKE, INVESTIGATION, AND ADJUDICATION 

Complaint Intake 

A complaint may be initiated by the Department or by a member of the 
public. Individuals who initiate complaints against officers may do so at either a 
police station, the Police Commission headquarters, or through the 
Department's Internal Affairs Division ("IAD"). Complaints lodged through other 
locations such as the Mayor's office or a City Council member's office are 
typically referred to IAD, which then notifies the complainant and initiates the 
complaint process. As a practical matter, most complainants are unaware of 
the opportunity or unable to lodge their complaint through any location other 
than the local police station. 

According to LAPD procedures, when a complainant comes to the police 
station, his or her complaint should promptly be received by a supervisor, who 
should meet with the complainant and take a statement. Complaints can also 
be initiated by telephone or letter. When the complainant's allegations, if true, 
would constitute an act of misconduct, the supervisor must, if necessary, assist 
the complainant in completing U\PD Form 1.81 (personnel complaint). The 
failure to take the complaint and record it on a Form 1.81 is a violation of LAPD 
policy. 

Investigation 

All complaints must be routed through IAD, where a captain reviews each 
new Form 1.81. The captain decides whether the complaint will be investigated 
by IAD or the charged officer's division. Generally, IAD investigates only the 
most severe cases because of limited resources. In recent years, IAD has 
investigated only a very small fraction of all excessive force complaints. 



154 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



If the investigation is retained by IAD, a team of two investigators is 
assigned to the case, one of whom is principally responsible. (IAD 
investigators generally rotate through the division on a two-year cycle.) If the 
investigation is referred to the division, the case is ordinarily handled by a 
supervisor, usually a sergeant who is likely to have many other duties. 

Since the Eulia Love incident in 1979 (discussed in Chapter 10), officer 
involved shootings have been investigated by a special officer involved 
shooting team, which is separate from IAD. As part of the special procedure for 
investigating such cases, the Department notifies the District Attorney's office at 
the time of the shooting to allow a Deputy District Attorney and a District 
Attorney Investigator to go immediately ("roll out") to the scene. 



Classification, Adjudication, and Punishment 

When the investigation is completed either by IAD or by the division, the 
entire investigation file is delivered to the charged officer's division 
commanding officer (referred to here as "DCO") - generally a captain -- for 
adjudication. The DCO reviews the investigation file and classifies the result 
into one of the following four categories: 

Sustained - the police officer engaged in the 
alleged conduct and the conduct was out of policy. 
Excessive force and improper tactics complaints 
are rarely sustained unless there are non-involved, 
independent witnesses who corroborate the 
complainant's version of the facts. 

Not Sustained - the evidence is insufficient to 
prove or disprove clearly the allegations made, 
This classification almost always results when the 
only witnesses to the alleged misconduct were the 
accused officer and the complainant or witnesses 
in some way affiliated with the complainant, such 
as the complainant's family or friends. 

Unfounded the act complained of did not occur. 
This classification results when the investigators 
find non-involved citizen or police witnesses who 
contradict the allegations of the complainant. 

Exonerated « the event of alleged conduct 
occurred, but it was justified, lawful, and proper. 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 155 



Report of the Independent Commission 



The DCO classification of the complaint determines not only whether 
punishment may be imposed in that particular case, but also what use can be 
made of the incident. The officer's past record of "not sustained/ 5 
"unfounded," and "exonerated" complaints is not considered for any future 
disciplinary purpose. The officer's past record of "sustained" complaints may 
not be used in the classification of a personnel complaint, but may be used in 
determining the penalty if a future complaint is sustained. 

The penalties that can be imposed for a sustained complaint include the 
following: 

Warning a statement by the DCO instructing the 
officer to resolve the problem giving rise to the 
complaint. The LAPD Manual states that this 
penalty should be used only for very minor 
censurable acts of misconduct. 

Admonishment a more severe censure imposed 
by the DCO. 

Official Reprimand - a letter from the Chief of 
Police criticizing the officer's conduct. The letter is 
formally read to the officer, and a copy is placed in 
the officer's personnel file. 

Suspension « imposition by the Chief of Police of 
up to six months (approximately 130 working days) 
off duty without pay. 

Removal - termination of employment, imposed by 
the Chief of Police. 

Whatever the classification and penalty recommendation, the case is then 
reviewed by the area and bureau commanders (generally a more senior 
captain and a deputy chief, respectively). These commanders can concur or 
disagree with the DCO's recommendation. In either case, the views of the 
commanders are included in the file, which is then forwarded to the IAD Review 
and Evaluation Section. The charged officer is given an opportunity to review 
the investigation and the proposed discipline, and to respond in writing. 
^SsfX> The file is reviewed by IAD to determine the adequacy of the investigation, 

but not the classification or recommended penalty. (If the investigation is 
deemed inadequate, it is returned to the division for more work.) If the 
complaint is sustained and the recommended penalty does not include 
suspension or removal, the appropriate commanding officer imposes the 



156 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



penalty and a record of the penalty is included in the officer's personnel file. If 
the complaint is sustained and the recommended penalty is suspension or 
removal, the system allows for additional review and administrative 
proceedings (described below). Pursuant to the City Charter, any action by the 
Chief to suspend or remove the officer must be initiated within one year of the 
act giving rise to the complaint. If the complaint is unsustained (that is, if it is 
not sustained, unfounded, or exonerated), the proceedings are concluded. 

If the DCO or area or bureau commanders recommend that an officer 
should be suspended or removed, the IAD Commanding Officer and an 
assistant chief submit the case to the Chief of Police for his determination as to 
what discipline to impose. The Chief may accept, increase, or decrease the 
recommended punishment. 

Pursuant to the City Charter, if the Chief decides that a suspension for 22 
working days or less is appropriate, then the officer has the option of (1) 
accepting the suspension, in which event the case is concluded, or (2) refusing 
the suspension, in which event the case proceeds to a Board of Rights hearing. 
If the Chief decides that a suspension for more than 22 working days or 
removal is appropriate, the case automatically proceeds to a Board of Rights 
hearing. 

A Board of Rights hearing is an adversary proceeding to determine 
whether the officer is guilty of the misconduct alleged in a complaint. The 
names of six officers of the rank of captain or above are drawn at random. The 
accused officer then selects the three Board members from the six names 
drawn. The Board decides, based on a "preponderance of the evidence/' 
whether an officer is guilty and, if so, recommends a punishment to be 
imposed by the Chief. At these proceedings, which are generally public, the 
charged officer is entitled to be represented by counsel, a Department 
representative of the rank of lieutenant or below, or both. The officer is also 
entitled to an investigator. Pursuant to the City Charter, the Chief has discretion 
to accept or reduce, but not to increase, the penalty recommended by the 
Board. 

When the process is completed, the Police Commission is notified of the 
results in the IAD Weekly Summary of Adjudicated Cases, which consists of a 
one or two paragraph summary of each case. 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 157 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Under state law, any officer subjected to discipline may seek judicial review 
of the Department's decision. 

PROBLEMS WITH THE CURRENT SYSTEM 

Many witnesses, during both the Commission's public and executive 
sessions, identified substantial problems at every stage of the discipline 
process. In addition, the Commission's independent review of over 700 
personnel complaint files involving charges of excessive use of force or 
improper tactics revealed significant problems in the investigation and 
classification of complaints. 

Complaint Intake 

Many witnesses at the Commission's public hearings testified that 
individuals who wish to file complaints face significant hurdles. Some 
commented on the complainant's fear of presenting his or her complaint at the 
local police station. Others complained of practices that made filing a 
complaint unnecessarily difficult or impossible. 

For example, Latino LAPD officers stated that even in many heavily Latino 
divisions, there is often no Spanish-speaking officer available to take 
complaints. Witnesses testified at the Commission's public hearings that intake 
officers actively discouraged them from filing complaints by tactics such as 
requiring the complainant to wait for long periods before being permitted to 
make a complaint, and even threatening defamation suits or referrals to the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service, Several former Police Commissioners 
told us they felt the police station was not a good place to start the complaint 
process. 

LAPD Deputy Chief Glen Levant confirmed that some officers actively 
discourage people from filing complaints. Chief Levant stated that he asked 
volunteers to try to lodge complaints in certain divisions and report their 
experiences. The volunteers reported that division personnel actively 
discouraged people from lodging their complaints. Chief Levant, who has 
initiated action to stop that practice, believes that the problem is Department- 
wide. 

In an attempt to verify these practices independently. Commission staff 
contacted by telephone a sample of former complainants (approximately half 



158 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



whose complaints were sustained and half whose complaints were 
unsustained). Even among those whose complaints were sustained, we found 
several said they had been "discouraged" or "intimidated" from making a 
complaint. Approximately one-third of this group described procedures that 
were not hospitable to their efforts. An even higher number of those whose 
complaints were not sustained complained of harassment and intimidation, Of 
course, the survey could not include those persons who were sufficiently 
intimidated by the process so as not to make a complaint. 

The LAPD has recognized that, at least in the past year, complaints of 
officer misconduct made by the public were often noted in daily activity logs 
rather than recorded in the official Personnel Complaint Form 1.81 that triggers 
a formal complaint investigation and IAD review. According to a 1982 LAPD 
audit of sergeant and watch commander logs in four divisions: 

[IJnformal systems do in fact exist for documenting 
and adjudicating personnel complaints. 
Supervisors record preliminary investigations of 
reportable acts of misconduct in their daily logs to 
allow the watch commanders, and more often the 
division or Area Commanding Officers, to make 
determinations as to whether or not 1.81's should 
be initiated. 

In response to the audit, the Department acknowledged that this practice was 
"unacceptable." 

A 1983 audit confirmed systematic failures to fill out the Form 1.81 in 
another division. That audit noted that the informal system sometimes took the 
form of recording the complaint on a yellow tablet ("yellow sheeting") rather 
than initiating an official personnel complaint. Several years after the 1982 and 
1983 audits, this "yellow sheeting" practice was utilized in an incident involving 
one of the four officers indicted in the Rodney King case. According to the 
complaining witness, who was interviewed by the Commission staff, the 
sergeant's "yellow sheet" was transformed into a formal complaint only after 
the complainant returned to the police station a second time and demanded 
(over the sergeant's objection) that his complaint be officially recorded. (The 
complaint was held not sustained.) No audits for recent years indicating 
whether or not these informal practices have been discontinued were provided 
to the Commission by the LAPD. 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 159 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Investigation 

Form 1.81 Complaint Investigations 

The Commission staff reviewed over 700 personnel complaint 
investigation files relating to charges of excessive force or improper tactics. 
These included over 300 randomly selected files involving unsustained 
complaints for the period from 1987 through 1990, over 200 files involving 
sustained complaints for excessive force or improper tactics for the period from 
1984 through 1990, and all personnel complaint investigation files for the 44 
officers with six or more allegations of excessive force or improper tactics 
during the period from 1986 through 1990. That review validates many of the 
public's charges of inadequate or improper complaint investigation. 

A typical complaint investigation should focus on identifying and 
interviewing individuals who were or may have been witnesses to alleged 
misconduct. To ensure fairness, the process requires both the prompt 
identification of those who participated in or might otherwise have witnessed 
the event, and the prompt interview of all such individuals. In the division 
investigation files examined, however, the Commission found lapses with 
respect to both of these basic procedures. 

Concerning the identification of witnesses, files reflected that 
independent witnesses were either not identified or, if identified, were not 
interviewed. In a number of files, there was no indication that the investigators 
even attempted to identify or locate independent witnesses. Investigators were 
also hampered by the failure of officers on the scene to fill out or retain field 
interview cards. 

The Commission's examination was necessarily based almost 
exclusively on information that appeared on the face of the files; we did not re- 
investigate the charges. However, LAPD Deputy Chief Bernard Parks reported 
to Commission staff that he had found inadequate and misleading information 
in the complaint investigation files in the bureau under his command. For 
example, in an audit of one file, Chief Parks found that an LAPD sergeant, in 
charge of an investigation into allegations that a handcuffed suspect was 
beaten on the head and face, had apparently fabricated an interview with a 
California Highway Patrol officer who had been at the scene of the 
complainant's arrest. The file contained a report that the CHP officer saw 
nothing and was generally uncooperative with the investigator. When the 



160 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



division captain, at Chief Parks' direction, contacted the CHP, he learned that 
the CHP officer had never been contacted by anyone at the LAPD concerning 
the incident under investigation. 

The Commission has reviewed all available IAD investigation files 
relating to excessive force or improper tactics allegations from 1986 through 
1990. The percentage of sustained excessive force or improper tactics 
complaints investigated by IAD is substantially higher (15%) than the 
percentage for division investigations (5%). Because of IAD's initial screening 
and the relatively small number of files available from IAD, it is difficult to draw 
firm conclusions from those statistics. The IAD files reviewed revealed that 
these investigations, on the whole, were of a higher quality than the division 
investigations. Moreover, due to its reputation as an elite unit and its place in 
the Department structure, IAD has greater potential than does the charged 
officer's own division for independence and expertise in conducting complaint 
investigations. However, this potential can only be realized if there is a 
commitment to effective discipline in excessive force cases from the LAPD 
leadership, as well as a commitment of additional resources and training for 
IAD investigative personnel. 

Officer Involved Shootings 

Every officer involved shooting is investigated by the LAPD whether 
or not there is any allegation of misconduct. These investigations are included 
here because they involve use of force and, if the shooting is out of policy, can 
result in discipline. Although the LAPD, as stated above, has a special "officer 
involved shooting team," we also found serious flaws in the investigation of 
shooting cases. Specifically, we found that; 

• Officers at the scene are frequently gathered 
together and interviewed as a group, which many 
have appropriately criticized as an opportunity for 
witnesses to "get their stories straight." 

• Officer statements are often not recorded until the 
completion of a "pre-interview," which is attended 
only by LAPD officers. Only when the "pre- 
interview" is concluded is a recorded statement 
taken. 

• When the LAPD does interview the involved officer, 
the officer's statement is usually "compelled" under 



Chapter 9; Complaints and Discipline 161 



Report of the Independent Commission 



the statutory Police Officer's Bill of Rights. Legally, 
no "compelled" statement can be used in any 
criminal prosecution of that officer. Similarly, any 
information or discoveries obtained directly or 
indirectly from that statement cannot be used 
against the compelled officer in a criminal 
proceeding. When these compelled statements 
are taken at the beginning of the administrative 
investigation, any potential criminal prosecution will 
likely be very difficult to pursue. 

• The District Attorney's representatives are not 
permitted to interview the police officer or 
witnesses until after the LAPD has completed its 
investigation. 

Other law enforcement agencies have successfully conducted 
shooting and other investigations without resorting to these techniques. The 
Commission perceives no legitimate reason why the LAPD continues to engage 
in these practices. 

Classification and Adjudication 

Initial Classification 

Based on testimony before the Commission and the staff's review of 
investigative files, the Commission has concluded that the Department's 
system of classification as it is now designed and operated is biased in favor of 
officers charged with excessive force or improper tactics. 

First, there is no consistent basis for categorizing witnesses as 
"independent" or "non-involved" as opposed to "involved." Yet the presence of 
a non-involved witness can determine whether a complaint is not sustained or 
sustained. Similarly, the existence of a witness is often the determining factor 
as to whether an unsustained complaint is classified as unfounded or not 
sustained. Table 9-2 indicates that over 50% of excessive use of force and 
improper tactics allegations listed in the LAPD's weekly summary of 
adjudicated cases that were unsustained, were classified as such due to the 
lack of an "independent" witness. 

Instances of this categorization problem abound. For example, in 
one case a non-involved witness observed the use of force against another 
individual and reported this event to the LAPD. When the case was finally 
adjudicated, the complaint was classified not sustained because the witness, 



162 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



TABLE 9-2 



REASONS STATED BY LAPD FOR NOT SUSTAINING 
COMPLAINTS OF EXCESSIVE FORCE OR IMPROPER TACTICS 

JANUARY 1986 THROUGH DECEMBER 1987 AND OCTOBER 1988 THROUGH JUNE 1990 



NO INDEPENDENT WITNESSES 55.3% 




RESULTS 23.2% 



1 Other includes - Conflicting Testimony (4.4%), Insufficient Evidence (2.9%), Independent Witnesses (2.4%), 
Inconsistent Injuries (0.7%), and Lack of Credibility (0.1%). 

Source: LAPD Weekly Summaries of Adjudicated Complaints. 



Report of the Independent Commission 



by virtue merely of having reported the incident, was deemed to be "interested" 
or 'Involved." On the other hand, police officers at the scene were often treated 
as independent witnesses for the purpose of classifying the complaint as 
unfounded. In one case, a high ranking L7\PD commanding officer reduced a 
classification of not sustained to unfounded on this ground. 

Second, some commanding officers evaluated witnesses' credibility 
in an inconsistent and biased way. In one case, a school district police officer 
corroborated a complainant's claim of excessive force, but an arrestee sitting in 
a patrol car claimed to have seen nothing. Apparently because the arrestee 
corroborated the accused officer's version, that testimony was deemed to 
counter-balance the statement of the other law enforcement officer, and the 
complaint was classified not sustained. 

Similarly, in many cases the reviewing officer found the complainant 
to be not credible because of insubstantial inconsistencies between the 
complainant's statement and the statement of a witness. In one case, for 
example, a narcotics suspect complained of being "thrown" against a barroom 
wall. Because the bartender said that the complainant was "pushed" into the 
wall, he was deemed to have contradicted the complainant. The report failed to 
state, however, that both the complainant and the bartender contradicted the 
officers, who stated that the suspect lost his balance and fell into the wall when 
he attempted to destroy or discard evidence. 

Third, the Commission's review indicated that in several cases 
commanding officers discredited or diminished a complainant's charges by 
finding that the physical injury suffered by the complainant was not consistent 
with the force allegedly used, when there was no basis for such a finding. The 
Commission reviewed several cases in which the complainant had suffered 
obvious, documented injuries, but the commanding officer concluded that the 
injuries could not have been caused by the officer. In reaching these 
conclusions, the commanding officers often failed to offer any credible 
explanation of how the injuries might otherwise have occurred. 

Fourth, commanding officers sometimes ignored obvious physical 
evidence in concluding that the alleged injury did not occur. In the file audited 
by Deputy Chief Parks discussed above, for example, the complainant alleged 
that he had been beaten while sitting handcuffed in a police car. The file 
contained a photograph of the handcuffed complainant sitting in a police car at 



Chapter 9; Complaints and Discipline 163 



Report of the Independent Commission 



the scene of his arrest. In that photograph, his face shows a minor cut on the 
lip. However, his booking photograph, taken a short time later, shows severe 
injuries to his head and face as if he had been beaten. The file also revealed 
that one of his teeth had been found in the back seat of the police car. The 
commanding officer who classified the complaint as not sustained took no note 
of this compelling physical evidence. 

Fifth, the Commission encountered a significant number of not 
sustained cases in which, notwithstanding the "official" result, the commanding 
officer's "Administrative Insight" criticized the officer's performance. In many 
instances, this criticism implied unmistakably that the commanding officer 
believed the charged officer was guilty of misconduct or improper behavior. 
Worse, as discussed in greater detail in Chapter 3, such negative "insights" did 
not appear with any frequency in the performance evaluations of at least the 44 
officers who had amassed the greatest number of not sustained and unfounded 
complaints during the relevant period. 

Review by the Chief of Police 

In several cases, the Chief reversed the field commander's 
classification of a complaint as sustained without any explanation or rationale 
for his decision. This problem was the subject of an internal disciplinary audit 
conducted in 1986. The audit report identified nine instances in less than a 
year within the South Bureau in which the Chief of Police either ordered that a 
complaint not be sustained, ignored the recommendation of the reviewing 
officers that punishment be imposed, or substantially reduced the 
recommended punishment. The author of the report noted that in each 
instance, "it was clear to me that the officers had conducted themselves in a 
manner inconsistent with established Department standards." Noting that the 
Chief had disregarded the recommendations of the bureau commander, the 
author wrote: 

In addition to the inherent undermining of Bureau 
judgment and credibility, the unfortunate by- 
product of these reversals was that the involved 
officers were led to believe that their conduct in 
these matters was acceptable though the Bureau 
deemed it inappropriate. 



164 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



In a broader vein, Assistant Chief Dotson expressed concern over the 
manner in which the Chief of Police mitigates discipline. He stated: 

But in a lot of cases, not only discipline, an officer 
will appeal to the Chief, and the Chief will mitigate 
whatever the situation may have been, whether it 
be discipline, administrative transfer, an 
appointment, or an upgrade, or whatever, based 
on the officer's appeal. And he frequently does that 
without informing the chain of command that had 
been involved in the contra-recommendation in that 
process, and so, that happens in discipline from 
time to time. 

The Commission concludes that the Chief should be required to state 
in writing to the Police Commission any decision to alter the adjudication of a 
personnel complaint or the recommended penalty, and the reasons for that 
decision. 



Punishment 

The preceding sections demonstrate that the LAPD sustains relatively few 
excessive force complaints against its officers. The Commission is further 
persuaded that, even when such complaints are sustained, the punishment is 
more lenient than it should be. We base this conclusion primarily on testimony 
and information provided by the Department itself. 

Commander Michael Bostic, who was assigned by Chief Gates to 
investigate issues relating to training and use of force following the King 
incident, testified before the Commission as follows: 

BOSTIC: I've interviewed several hundred people in the 
organizations from lieutenants and captains 
and all of the commanders and deputy chiefs 
and kind of reoccurring theme that IVe heard 
that's really bothered me , . . they say that the 
organization is light on excessive force . . . . 



Q: Excuse me, Commander. Do you mean light 

in punishment? 

BOSTIC: Light in punishment, light in punishment. 

And, I then said to them, well, what do you 
mean, and almost universally they gave me 
these examples. They said if you lie, cheat 
and steal we'll fire you, if you use drugs well 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 165 



Report of the Independent Commission 



fire you. But if you use excessive force, we 
won't. 

Commander Bostic went on to say that he disagreed with this assessment 
because he considered it an "apples to oranges" comparison. He testified that, 
while there is no degree of lying or drug use - either you are guilty or you are 
not - "[w]hen it comes to excessive force, that is extremely a case by case 
perception issue." 

The Commission also spoke with a deputy chief who supported the "light 
in punishment" viewpoint. He stated that the discipline imposed by the 
Department is more severe for conduct that embarrasses the Department than 
for conduct that reflects improper treatment of members of the public. By way 
of example, he said that an officer caught in a liaison with a prostitute is likely to 
receive more severe discipline than an officer who beats an individual. A 
former high ranking officer with broad experience within the Department also 
corroborated this view, telling us that excessive force is treated leniently 
because it does not violate the Department's internal moral code. This former 
officer stated that the Department vigilantly enforces discipline for violations 
such as theft and bribery, which indicate police corruption. But violent 
behavior, such as the use of batons, is viewed by many members of the 
Department as not requiring discipline at all because, as this officer said, "some 
thumping" is permissible as a matter of course. 

More support for this view was provided in interviews with members of the 
Police Protective League and many patrol officers. According to those sources, 
officers receive more severe punishment for breaking what they described as 
"administrative" rules than for breaking rules regarding excessive force. Many 
officers went on to say that they believe punishment is arbitrarily imposed and 
depends on the subject officer's place in the Department's formal and informal 
hierarchy. 

This widespread view within the Department supports the inferences that 
can be drawn from the statistical data concerning penalties imposed in 
excessive force cases: the Department treats excessive force violations more 
leniently than it treats other types of violations. 

The Commission realizes, of course, that there are gradations to excessive 
force. However, even taking these gradations into account, the Department's 
own statistics are disconcerting. 



166 Chapter 9; Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



For example, the Commission reviewed the discipline imposed on officers 
with sustained complaints for excessive force against handcuffed suspects 
between 1984 and 1990. This particular misuse of force was selected because 
numerous witnesses (including senior ranking members of the Department) 
testified that unnecessarily striking a handcuffed person was absolutely 
unacceptable behavior which would not be tolerated by the Department. In 
fact, most officers agreed that, except in the most unusual cases, no force is 
necessary once a person is handcuffed. 

From the beginning of 1984 through the end of 1990, the Department's 
own records reflect at least 36 cases of sustained complaints involving 
allegations of excessive force against a handcuffed suspect. Of these cases, 
only two (both involving officers with egregious records of force-related 
complaints including prior suspensions) led to removal. In every other case, 
the discipline was a 22-day suspension or less. The median number of days 
suspended was less than 10 days and only three officers received 22 days. 
Even more significant, in about half of these cases the matter was referred to a 
Board of Rights because of the division's commanding officer's belief that the 
discipline should be termination or a suspension of more than 22 days. With 
the exception of the officers noted above, the Boards did not recommend 
removal or a suspension of over 22 days even for outrageous behavior. In one 
incident, for example, an officer, while sitting on his motorcycle, balanced 
himself by placing his boot on the face of a handcuffed suspect lying on the 
ground. A complaint was sustained and referred to a Board of Rights. For this 
act, the officer received only a 15-day suspension. 

Our review also revealed lax punishment for officers who blatantly lied 
about the event in question. Notwithstanding that those officers demonstrated 
willful untruthfulness, they were not removed. For example, the Board found 
that an officer hit a handcuffed suspect in the mouth with his fist while the 
suspect was quietly sitting in a chair. The officer contended that, in turning 
around, he accidentally swung his arm and his hand happened to come in 
contact with the suspect. The Board found this story unbelievable. 
Notwithstanding the officer's false statement, he received only a 22-day 
suspension. 

The Commission also examined generally the punishments imposed for 
sustained complaints of excessive force or improper tactics. The results are 



Chapter 9; Complaints and Discipline 167 



Report of the Independent Commission 



shown in Table 9-3. Of the 171 sustained complaints between 1986 and 1990 
reviewed by the Commission, only 13 resulted in removal (one was a 
probationary officer), and only seven in a suspension of over 22 days. 

The system is even less strict in cases of improper officer involved 
shootings. According to the Police Foundation's The Big Six survey of the six 
largest cities in the United States, Los Angeles in 1988 ranked first in civilians 
wounded and killed by police, with 11,1 civilians wounded or killed per 1,000 
officers. Other cities ranged from a low of 1.2 civilians wounded or killed per 
1,000 officers (Philadelphia) to a distant second of 7.6 per 1,000 officers 
(Houston), The Commission's staff reviewed the discipline imposed in a 
sample of 39 cases involving out of policy shootings, including at least four 
cases where suspects were fatally shot and 10 where suspects were injured. 
The most severe discipline imposed was a 10-day suspension, and 19 cases 
resulted in no suspension at all. A similar study of 35 improper shooting cases 
conducted in May 1991 by the Daily News also concluded that discipline in 
these cases was lax. 

Unfortunately, there is currently no effective oversight of the disciplinary 
process or of the punishments imposed. The Police Commission is charged 
by the City Charter with overseeing the LAPD, including the disciplinary system. 
But as it is presently structured, the Police Commission simply cannot, and 
does not, effectively review the adequacy of the disciplinary system. First, the 
Police Commission meets too infrequently, and has too many responsibilities, 
to review these summaries in detail. Second, because the Police Commission 
is not given the actual complaint files, it does not have the information 
necessary to determine whether the results are appropriate. 

THE CODE OF SILENCE 

Perhaps the greatest single barrier to the effective investigation and 
adjudication of complaints is the officers' unwritten "code of silence." While 
loyalty and support are salutary and even necessary qualities, they cannot 
justify the violation of an officer's public responsibility to ensure compliance 
with the law, including LAPD regulations. The code of silence influences the 
behavior of many LAPD officers in a variety of ways, but it consists of one 
simple rule: an officer does not provide adverse information against a fellow 
officer. 



168 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



TABLE 9™ 3 



PENALTIES IMPOSED FOR SUSTAINED COMPLAINTS BY THE 
PUBLIC OF EXCESSIVE FORCE OR IMPROPER TACTICS 

171 TOTAL SUSTAINED COMPLAINTS FROM JANUARY 1986 THROUGH DECEMBER 1990 




Source: LAPD Complaint Database. 



Report of the Independent Commission 



For example, in a recent case, one young LAPD officer initially covered up 
for a partner accused of an unprovoked attack on two homeless African- 
American people. He later reached an agreement with the prosecutor to testify 
against his partner. When asked to explain why he had lied to investigators in 
his initial interview, he testified: 

Basically being raised by a Los Angeles police 
officer myself, coming from a rather elite unit within 
the armed service, it is basically a non-written rule 
that you do not roll over, tell on your partner, your 
companion. 

After the officer recanted his prior statement, the investigator noted that this 
officer had gone "against the unwritten code of silence which states that 'you 
never cop out. 1 " 

One former LAPD sergeant told the Commission that there were at least 
one or two officers in every division in which he had worked who regularly used 
excessive force, and that every sergeant in the city would say the same thing if 
he or she were being candid. However, he said that younger officers in the field 
who are in a position to observe this conduct are afraid to "blow the whistle" on 
fellow officers, 

When asked whether there is a code of silence among officers, former 
Assistant Chief Jesse Brewer stated, 

That may be the right way to term it in that there is 
a reluctance on the part of police officers to 
complain about misconduct on the part of their 
partners when they see it, when they observe it. 

And when the misconduct is reported by someone else, Chief Brewer 
observed: 

They try to save themselves by saying, "I don't 
know," or "It didn T t happen," because if it comes 
out that they knew it happened and did nothing 
about it, then they would be subject to a personnel 
complaint for failing to take appropriate action. 

Chief Brewer wrote a similar comment in his review as a deputy chief in the 
early 1980's of a complaint investigation: 

It is discouraging to note that throughout this 
investigation, . . . regular sworn officers [immerse] 
themselves in half truths or blatant untruths. 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 169 



Report of the Independent Commission 



One of the most distressing examples of the code of silence in operation 
occurred in the recent prosecution of three LAPD officers for criminal vandalism 
stemming from the extensive property damage in the 39th and Dalton drug raid 
discussed in Chapter 3. Sixteen police officers were called by the prosecution 
to testify against their fellow officers. The judge who presided over the trial 
stated on the record (outside the presence of the jury) his concern that the 
officers might be "trying to help the defendants . . . because they are brother 
officers." More dramatically, he later stated that "many of the [police officer 
witnesses] are clearly lying," and that their conduct in doing so was "shameful" 
and an "embarrassment." After, he flatly stated, "I cannot think of a case in my 
life , . . where I have seen more false testimony." The defendants did not testify 
and were found not guilty. 

Officers who do give evidence against their fellow officers are often 
ostracized and harassed, and in some instances themselves become the target 
of complaints. One officer who corroborated a suspect's report of being 
beaten in a holding cell was forced out of the Department. Another officer who 
attempted to lodge a complaint against a fellow officer for excessive force was 
told that if she wanted to press the complaint she had two choices: stay on the 
force and be labeled as an oddball, or resign, She resigned. A successful 
Latino officer who had risen through the ranks complained of the use of racial 
epithets and ethnic slurs; he became the target of an investigation and was 
transferred out of the elite unit where he was assigned. An African-American 
female officer who complained of highly provocative sexist and racist remarks 
made by a white male officer was disciplined for using profanity in reacting to 
the provocation. As a former LAPD officer stated in a Los Angeles Times 
column on July 2, 1991: 

When an officer finally gets fed up and comes 
forward to speak the truth, that will mark the end of 
his or her police career. The police profession will 
not tolerate it, and civilian authorities will close their 
eyes when the retaliatory machinery comes down 
on the officer. 

Police officers are given special powers, unique in our society, to use force, 
even deadly force, in the furtherance of their duties. Along with that power, 
however, must come the responsibility of loyalty first to the public the officers 



170 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



serve. That requires that the code of silence not be used as a shield to hide 
misconduct. 

THE NEED FOR REFORM: 

THE COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE 

From the foregoing evidence, the Commission concludes that the current 
system of discipline does not work. There are failures in every stage of the 
disciplinary system from complaint intake to punishment. Minor tinkering or 
adjustment will not solve these problems; a major system overhaul is required. 

We conclude that the best approach is to place oversight of the disciplinary 
process in the Police Commission, with that Commission being given adequate 
staffing to permit it to accomplish its mission effectively. This oversight 
responsibility would be centered in a new civilian staff position, the Office of the 
Inspector General, which will report directly to the Police Commission and its 
Chief of Staff, also a newly created position. The Police Commission, 
knowledgeable about and responsible for police policy, and with the 
substantially augmented staff we recommend in Chapter 10, will be in the best 
position to implement and oversee an effective disciplinary process. 

The Police Commission should be accountable for making the process 
easy to use, for assuring that the Department investigates and adjudicates 
allegations thoroughly and fairly, and for identifying trends or indicators that 
raise policy issues. 

With respect to discipline, we believe good management principles 
counsel leaving the Chief primarily responsible for imposing discipline in 
individual cases. The Commission should, however, set guidelines as a matter 
of policy, and hold the Chief accountable for following them. 

We think a civilian oversight process is preferable to a so-called "civilian 
review board." The Commission has surveyed the 20 largest cities in the 
United States (other than Los Angeles) and Madison, Wisconsin, to ascertain 
how they handle complaints against the police. Thirteen cities review 
complaints using some entity that consists of or includes civilians. Six have 
wholly civilian review boards; four have boards composed of both civilians and 
sworn officers; and three have parallel review processes - one civilian, one 
internal - operating concurrently. Only four of these 13 cities use investigators 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 171 



Report of the Independent Commission 



unaffiliated with the city's police department; thus, 17 out of the total 21 
surveyed use police department investigators. 

A number of witnesses before the Commission called for the establishment 
of a civilian review board, entirely external to the Police Department, authorized 
to review particular cases of alleged misconduct. However, the literature 
regarding civilian review boards, expert testimony before the Commission, and 
our survey of other cities persuade us that this proposal is not the best 
alternative. First, such a system would greatly increase the risk of an "us 
against them" attitude on the part of police officers, which could in turn 
aggravate the code of silence problem and result in a lack of respect and 
cooperation on the part of officers toward the complaint review process. 
Second, the review board itself could become politicized, resulting in 
manipulation of the complaint review process that would harm both the 
complainants and the Department. Third, it could be difficult to recruit a 
balanced, professional staff for such a single-purpose agency. 

These deficiencies have led at least some experts to conclude that "a 
[complaint review] system has rarely, if ever, been successful if the opportunity 
to respond to complaints was completely removed from the police force." 
The Police Commission, in its July 2, 1991 report, also recommended against 
an elected civilian review board. Instead it proposed increased civilian 
oversight of the complaint process by means of more extensive involvement of 
the Police Commission itself. 

In short, we are not persuaded that it would be effective to create yet 
another body, thereby diffusing responsibility and creating a new bureaucracy, 
to do what a properly staffed and empowered Police Commission ought 
already to do as part of its Charter mandate. In our judgment, the tension 
between the need for public accountability and the apparent failure of civilian 
review boards to perform effectively is best resolved by using the already 
existing Police Commission actively to oversee and audit the disciplinary 
system, but to allow professional Department investigators and supervisors to 
be responsible and accountable for individual cases. To this end, we make the 
following recommendations. 



172 Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Recommendation 1: Complaint Intake 

The Police Commission should create an Office of the Inspector General 
within the Police Commission, reporting directly to the Commission and its 
Chief of Staff, to audit and oversee the complaint and disciplinary process. The 
Inspector General's office should be adequately staffed to perform the functions 
set forth in these recommendations, consistent with our related 
recommendations in Chapter 10. 

Responsibility for the receipt of complaints should rest with the Police 
Commission. The Police Commission should publicize the ways to obtain 
complaint forms and to complete and file them. These forms, which should be 
straightforward enough to be filled out by a complainant, should be printed in 
English, Spanish, and other appropriate languages. Complaints should be 
received at places in addition to the police station. For example, City Council 
district offices might be acceptable locations. Posters in English, Spanish, and 
other appropriate languages should be placed conspicuously in police stations 
informing people how and where to file complaints, and where to go for help in 
doing so. The Police Commission's Inspector General should have trained 
personnel available through a telephone "hot-line" (the number of which should 
be included on the station-house posters) ready to help people complete and 
file complaints. The Inspector General's office should maintain a file of each 
complaint. Once a complaint is properly completed and filed, it should be 
routed to IAD for transfer onto a Form 1,81 and further processing. If an 
individual fills out a Form 1.81 initially, a copy should be routed to the Inspector 
General's office. 

The statute of limitations set forth in City Charter Section 202 (currently one 
year) should be extended and modified. The Commission has heard 
substantial testimony that this limitation unduly hampers the Department, 
especially in cases where the misconduct is not discovered quickly, where 
outside forces delay the adjudicatory process, or where the charges do not 
relate to a single "incident" but rather to a pattern of conduct (such as poor 
supervision). 

The City Attorney's office should promptly notify the Police Commission 
and the Department when civil claims are filed against the City arising out of 
alleged police misconduct. The Department, through IAD, should investigate 
every significant claim. 



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The Department should actively enforce the already existing requirement 
that business cards be handed out following police contact with the public. 

Recommendation 2: Investigation 

All complaints relating to excessive force (including improper tactics) 
should be investigated by IAD rather than the division, and should be subject to 
periodic audits by the Police Commission through its Inspector General, IAD 
should be given sufficient staff to handle the substantial extra burden that this 
shift will entail. Longer assignments to IAD should be established to allow 
investigators to develop the detachment necessary for full and fair 
investigations. IAD investigators should generally be detectives. This 
modification will allow police station and division supervisory personnel to 
concentrate on officer supervision, rather than officer investigation. Moreover, 
IAD's structural removal from the division will result in a more neutral and 
thorough investigation. 

To further IAD's structural independence, the head of IAD should be a 
deputy chief, and should report directly to the Chief of Police, This person 
should work closely with the Police Commission and its Inspector General 

To ensure that the investigation is adequate and fair, IAD should route the 
completed investigation file not only to the adjudicatory authority (discussed 
below), but also to the Inspector General. The Inspector General's office will 
therefore be able to satisfy itself, at this critical stage, that the investigation is 
thorough and complete. 

The improper investigative practices identified in this Chapter should 
immediately be discontinued. Specifically, there should be no group interviews 
of officers - whether in officer involved shooting investigations or other 
misconduct investigations and no "pre-interviews" of officers before taking 
their statements. As is currently done by IAD, all interviews should be tape 
recorded in excessive force related cases (including improper tactics) as well 
as in cases involving shootings. Further, in an investigation where the officer's 
conduct is potentially criminal, special precautions should be taken to protect 
against compromising evidence against the officer. In excessive force cases, 
IAD should investigate the role of all bystander officers (that is, officers present 
at the scene but not participating in or directing the use of force) to determine 
whether and to what degree they are in violation of Department policy. 



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Recommendation 3: Classification and Adjudication 

The initial classification of complaints should be made by the bureau 
commanding officer (a Deputy Chief or commander), not the charged officer's 
division commanding officer. Although the bureau commanding officer may 
discuss the matter with the relevant DCO, the bureau commanding officer must 
retain personal responsibility for making the classification decision. The 
Commission agrees that it is imperative, if management is to be held 
accountable, that management be empowered to make the initial classification. 
However, our review of the current process has persuaded us that this task 
cannot be fairly accomplished at the division level, This decision must be 
placed at the bureau level, allowing the person making the initial classification 
to benefit from a wider view of the Department. This modification also 
minimizes the personal bias that was apparent in many of the files the 
Commission staff reviewed. 

Classification system terminology should be modified to reflect more 
accurately the nature of the actual determination made. The "not sustained" 
classification should be renamed "not resolved." A "not resolved" finding, while 
not sufficient to impose discipline in that particular case, should be available for 
review in future investigations, as well as available for consideration at the time 
an employee evaluation is completed and for purposes of promotions and 
upgrades. Any finding, including unfounded or exonerated, should also be 
available for non-punitive purposes such as training, counseling, and 
assignment. 

The automatic preference for officers' testimony (sometimes called the "tie 
goes to the officer" approach) should not be relied on as a decision-making 
technique. All available evidence, including statements from witnesses -- 
whether they are deemed independent or involved - should be fairly and 
dispassionately evaluated in making a classification based on a 
"preponderance of the evidence" standard. 

After the initial adjudication is complete, the file should be sent back to IAD 
for its review not only of the investigation, but also of the classification. This 
"second look" outside the chain of command will provide an appropriate check 
on the initial determination. A copy of the completed complaint file should 
simultaneously be routed to the Inspector General's office. 



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The bureau chief should provide his or her subordinate command officers 
monthly with a list of officers who have been the subject of personnel 
complaints and the results of the adjudication of those complaints. In 
evaluating those subordinate command officers, the bureau chief should take 
into account and give significant weight to the complaint histories of the officers 
under that subordinate's command. Careful scrutiny should be given to the 
management and leadership qualities of command officers whose 
subordinates have high levels of personnel complaints lodged against them. 
Likewise, the bureau chiefs should be evaluated on their effectiveness in 
dealing with subordinate commanders whose divisions are a source of high 
levels of personnel complaints. 

If a complaint is sustained and there is a recommendation for suspension 
or removal, the Chief of Police should be required to provide a written 
explanation containing the facts and reasons for any modification in the 
classification or the penalty. The Chief's written explanation should be 
submitted to the Inspector General 

In making classification determinations and adjudications, bureau chiefs 
and Boards of Rights should be permitted to consider evidence adduced in 
prior complaints that were classified sustained or not resolved, and the City 
Charter should be amended to so provide. These fact finders should have 
access to all of the evidence developed in the resolution of any prior relevant 
complaints, and should be permitted to give whatever weight to that evidence 
they deem appropriate. 

If the fact finder is a Board of Rights, the Board may, in its discretion, 
consider evidence of such complaints, including the testimony of the prior 
complainant. 

The City Charter should be amended to provide that, if a Board of Rights is 
convened, one of the three members should be a civilian representative from 
the Inspector General's office. This civilian representative will bring a detached 
perspective to the case and force a rigorous sifting and evaluation of the 
evidence. The other two Board members should be randomly selected from 
among qualified officers, without further selection by the charged officer as is 
now allowed. 



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Recommendation 4: Punishment 

Because the Chief of Police is the sworn officer ultimately accountable for 
the Department, the Independent Commission believes that he or she must be 
able to mitigate discipline in appropriate cases, and also that significant 
disciplinary actions should be imposed by the Chief and not by subordinate 
officers. However, in instances where a Board of Rights has been convened, 
the Chief's power of mitigation should be subject to civilian review. The City 
Charter should be amended to give the Police Commission the power to 
reverse the Chiefs decision to reduce a recommended penalty by the Board. 

The Department should require training and counseling following every 
sustained complaint relating to excessive force (unless the officer is removed) 
and, where appropriate, following complaints that are unfounded or resolved. It 
is not enough to punish those who use excessive force, and hope that it does 
not happen again. The Department must take affirmative steps to ensure that 
the officer will modify his or her behavior. 

With regard to supervisory personnel (including field training officers), the 
Department should have the authority to impose the punishment of demotion in 
rank, an option not presently available under the City Charter. When an officer 
is charged with improperly carrying out his or her supervisorial responsibility, 
especially given the enhanced accountability the Commission recommends, 
suspension or removal may not be the best response. It may be more 
appropriate to relieve the officer of some or all of his or her managerial 
responsibility, that is, a demotion in rank. Such demotion should be imposed 
only after the Board of Rights procedure as with a suspension for more than 22 
days or a removal. 

The Department must make enforcement of its policy against the code of 
silence a high priority in discipline, training, and other areas. In doing so, it 
should actively and severely discipline those who violate Department policy by 
failing truthfully to report known instances of misconduct. Careful scrutiny 
should be given to cases where an officer corroborates the story of another 
officer during the investigation of a complaint, and where that complaint is 
sustained. Further, safeguards must be established to protect officers who 
break the code of silence from harassment or punishment by other officers or 
the Department itself. 



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Report of the Independent Commission 



Recommendation 5: Public Accountability 

The Inspector General should audit the disciplinary system at (east 
annually, and forward that detailed audit to the Police Commission for its review 
and approval. The results of this audit should be incorporated into the Chief of 
Police's performance review. The Chief of Police should be required to 
respond to this audit. 

The approved annual disciplinary audit, redacted where the Police 
Commission believes necessary for personnel reasons, should be submitted to 
the Mayor, the City Council, and the public along with the Chief of Police's 
response. 

In addition to publishing its detailed audit, the Police Commission should 
set aside a particular public meeting or meetings to review the audit and to take 
public comments. 



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NOTES TO CHAPTER NINE 

1. Petterson. "Police Accountability and Civilian Oversight of Policing," in A. Goldsmith, ed., 
Complaints Against the Police: The Trend to External Review, p. 280 (Clarendon Press 
1991) (forthcoming). 



Chapter 9: Complaints and Discipline 179 



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180 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



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Chapter Ten: 

Structural Issues the Police Commission 
and the Chief Of Police 

STATUS AND ROLE OF THE POLICE COMMISSION ................................... 184 

Current City Charter Provisions 184 

Charter Limitations On the Police 

Commission's Power , 185 

Historical Background , 186 

Police Commission Operations In Practice 187 

Police Commission Involvement 

In Policy Issues 193 

STATUS AND ROLE OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE 197 

Powers and Duties of the Chief 197 

Selection and Appointment of the Chief 198 

Discipline and Removal of the Chief 200 

Political Activity of the Chief 201 

The Police Commission's Relationship 

With Chief Gates 202 

THE UPD'S RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER 

ENTITIES OF CITY GOVERNMENT 204 

The Mayor 204 

The City Council 205 

The City Attorney 206 

RECOMMENDATIONS 206 

Recommendation 1 ; The Police Commission 208 

Recommendation 2: The Chief of Police 214 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 181 



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182 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



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The Police Commission— while given 
broad authority over the Department and 
its Chief— has neither the resources nor 
the real power to perform effective 
oversight and control 

View of several present and 
former Police Commissioners 



Chapter Ten: 

Structural Issues — the Police 
Commission and the Chief of Police 



Much as the nation's military is under the control of civilians, as are police 
departments throughout the country, the Los Angeles City Charter 
contemplates that the quasi-military Police Department should be subject to 
citizen oversight and control. This oversight and control are to be exercised by 
the Police Commission, which the Charter designates as the "head" of the 
Department. In concept, the Police Commission is intended to function much 
like a corporate board of directors, setting policies for the Department and 
overseeing its operations in conjunction with the Chief of Police, who acts as a 
chief executive officer responsive to the direction and control of the Police 
Commission. In practice, the Police Commission's authority has proved 
illusory; a number of structural and operational constraints greatly weaken the 
Police Commission's power to hold the Chief accountable and therefore its 
ability to perform its management responsibilities, including effective oversight. 
As a result, real power and authority effectively reside in the Police Chief, which 
has caused various Police Commissions to have attempted to exercise 



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direction and control through strategies ranging from outright confrontation to 
simple acquiescence or even appeasement. 

In this Chapter, we first review the structure and role of the Police 
Commission; next, we discuss the status and role of the Police Chief, with 
particular attention to the Chief's civil service status; and, finally, we make 
recommendations designed to restore a proper balance of power and authority 
between the Police Commission and the Chief of Police. 

STATUS AND ROLE OF THE POLICE COMMISSION 

Current City Charter Provisions 

The Charter, which dates back to 1925, specifies that the Police 
Department shall be "under the control and management" of the five-member 
Board of Police Commissioners, which is designated the "head" of the 
Department and given the express authority to "supervise, control, regulate and 
manage" the Department. The Police Commission also has the important 
power to appoint, discipline, and remove the Chief of Police. The Chief is 
designated the general manager and chief administrative officer of the 
Department, with a broad range of his own Charter powers and duties, all of 
which ~ except the initiation of disciplinary action against sworn officers - are 
subject to instructions from the Police Commission. Finally, the Police 
Commission grants permits to 56 different businesses and activities, including 
massage parlors, tow-truck operators, dance halls, and burglar alarm 
subscribers. 

Police Commissioners are appointed and subject to removal by the Mayor, 

4 

with the approval of a majority of the City Council. ^Police Commissioners are 
ostensibly appointed for five-year, staggered terms, but in practice, they have 
served at the pleasure of the Mayor and are usually replaced entirely when a 
new administration comes in. Since he took office in 1973, Mayor Bradley has 
appointed a total of 18 Police Commissioners, who have served for periods 
ranging from four months to 19 years. 

The Police Commissioners elect a president and vice-president every July, 

6 

for a one-year, renewable term. While the practice has varied, at least one 
recent Police Commission President held office for five years. 



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Police Commissioners serve on a part-time basis. The Charter requires 
that the Police Commission hold regular public meetings at least twice a 
month; in practice, it meets once a week. The only compensation Police 
Commissioners receive is $50 for every meeting they attend. 

Charter Limitations on the Police Commission's Power 

Although the Charter assigns the Police Commission ultimate control over 
Police Department policies, it undercuts the Police Commission's ability to 
exercise that control by imposing two formidable barriers to the Police 
Commission's real power to hold the Chief accountable for enforcement of its 
policies. 

First, as discussed below in the section on the status and role of the Chief, 

the Chiefs civil service status protects him from serious disciplinary action or 

discharge by giving him a "substantial property right" in his job, and declaring 

that he cannot be suspended or removed except for "good and sufficient 

cause" based upon an act or omission occurring within the prior year. The 

Police Commission must establish such cause in a "full, fair and impartial 

10 

hearing" before the Board of Civil Service Commissioners. Aside from the 
recent attempt to initiate proceedings against Chief Gates, no Police 
Commission has brought charges against any Police Chief since the Chief's 
office acquired civil service protection in 1937 except to issue reprimands that 
do not invoke the Charter's protection. 

Second, the Police Commission's already attenuated control over the 
Police Department potentially has been weakened further by two recent shifts of 
power from the Police Commission to the City Council. On June 4, 1991, the 
voters of Los Angeles passed Charter Amendment 5, empowering the City 
Council to review and override the actions of the City's commissions - 
including the Police Commission. This Charter amendment follows on the 
heels of the ^May 13, 1991 decision in Gates v. Board of Police 
Commissioners (now on appeal), upholding the City Council's authority to 
settle Chief Gates' challenge to the Police Commission's order suspending him 
from active duty. 



Chapter 10; Structural Issues the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 185 



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12 

Historical Background 

The second (and current) charter for the City of Los Angeles was enacted 
in 1925, following a period of widespread corruption in City government in 
general and the Police Department in particular. The 1925 Charter restructured 
the membership and powers of the City's boards and commissions and gave 
the Mayor power to appoint and remove all commissioners {with City Council 
approval). Some historians have noted that the intent of the 1925 Charter was 
to entrust the administration of the City to full-time, professional managers 
under the supervision of citizen commissioners. Statements by some of the 
drafters of the Charter, while they should not be deemed conclusive, indicate 
that the drafters envisioned a "citizens' government" as distinct from a 
"politicians' government," with the commissions protecting the public against 
abuses of power. The balance of power between the Mayor, City Council, and 
commissions struck by the Charter has remained basically unchanged since 
1925 - although recent^developments might have swung the balance back 
toward the City Council. 

The Police Chiefs civil service status is grounded in Charter reforms of the 
1930s enacted in response to political manipulation that then plagued the 
Police Departments internal governance and operations. In 1937, the voters 
gave the Chief the strong civil service job protection previously held only by 
lower level police officers - a decision that has made Los Angeles one of the 
few major dties in the country in which the Chief of Police has the prospect of 
life tenure. 

Changing conditions in the latter half of this century have refocused at least 
some public concern away from corruption and toward the issue of 
accountability in the top ranks of city government. Since 1971, the City Council 
has approved four proposed Charter amendments to exempt top city 
managers from the civil service in ordeMo give their appointing authorities 
more flexibility in hiring and discipline. Despite strong support for the 
amendments by the administrator of the City's civil service system, among 
others, each was defeated by a narrow majority of voters. 

In testimony before the Independent Commission, a number of witnesses, 
including Chief Gates and former Chiefs Reddin and Davis, agreed that the 
Chief's civil service status provides independence from improper political 
pressure. Several witnesses, however, suggested more balanced ways to 



186 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

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achieve this independence than the Charter's present solution, which weakens 
the Chiefs accountability by giving him, in effect, life tenure. 

Police Commission Operations in Practice 

Historical Overview 

Since 1953, the provision of police services in Los Angeles has been 
governed by three Mayors, four Chiefs of Police, and 34 Police Commissioners 
whose periods of service on the Police Commission have ranged from two 
months to 20 years. While the Charter provisions governing the Police 
Commission have remained essentially unchanged since 1925, the approach of 
the Police Commission to its oversight responsibilities has varied considerably. 
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Police Commission focused on the 
Charter language giving it the power to control and manage the Police 
Department and aggressively attempted, with limited success, to implement the 
principle of citizen oversight During most of its existence, however, the Police 
Commission has taken a far more passive role, essentially acting as a 
"booster" or "rubber stamp" for the Department Thus, although the Charter 
gives the Police Commission broad authority over the Department, it provides 
no guarantee that there will be strong citizen oversight. 

Police Commission Staff 

The Police Commission's staff is headed by the Commanding 
Officer, Commission Operations, a sworn LAPD officer chosen by the Police 
Commissioners, who normally serves in that post for two to three years. In 
recent years this position has been filled by a Commander. The Commanding 
Officer's future transfer and promotion are to a substantial extent at the 
discretion of the Chief of Police, and he or she is part of the Chief's command 
structure as well as being answerable to the Police Commission. If there is a 
conflict between the Police Commission and the Chief, the Commanding 
Officer can be caught in the middle. One Commanding Officer noted that he 
had six bosses: the Police Commissioners and "the man with my future in his 
hands," the Chief of Police. In recent years, the Police Commission has gone 
so far as to require that all commanders apply for the Commission Operations 
position, out of fear that given a choice, none would apply. 



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Because the Police Commission depends heavily on the 
Commanding Officer to review information received from the Department, 
make recommendations, and spot problems, it also must rely on his 
willingness and ability to question and criticize his superior officers. As a result, 
the Commanding Officer's divided loyalties can cause problems for the Police 
Commission as well as for the Commanding Officer himself. 

In addition to the Commanding Officer, the Police Commission's staff 
includes an executive officer and two analysts, all of whom are civilian 
employees. Both staff analysts are occupied virtually full-time on continuing 
assignments, so it is difficult for them to undertake special projects or 
investigations. The Police Commission also has a board secretary who is 
chosen by the Commissioners. Contrary to the terms of the Charter, however, 
the Department's chief accounting employee is not appointed by the Police 
Commission, but is selected by, and reports to, the Chief. 

Finally, there is a line item in the City budget for the hiring of outside 
consultants by the Police Commission. From 1981-82 through 1987-88, the 
appropriation was $79,000 per year; it fell to $25,000 in 1988-89 and stands at 
$27,500 in 1990-91. These funds have rarely been used, and have not been 
used at all since 1987. 

Regular Police Commission Functions 

The Police Commission meets weekly, on Tuesday afternoon. The 
public meeting is normally followed by an executive session. Among the 
functions handled regularly by the Police Commission at its weekly meetings 
are the following. 

Discipline 

The Police Commission receives summaries - prepared by the 
Department - of disciplinary actions against sworn officers and civilian 
employees involving charges of improper tactics, excessive force, discourtesy, 
or other significant misconduct carrying a suspension of five days or more. The 
Police Commission itself cannot impose discipline on sworn officers. By law 
discipline of sworn officers is reserved exclusively for the Chief (subject to 
Board of Rights procedures and other limits on his discretion). Accordingly, the 
summaries received by the Police Commission are advisory only. 



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Moreover, the summaries themselves do not encourage involvement 
by the Police Commission in discipline issues. They consist of a single, brief 
paragraph on each incident, describing the incident superficially and without 
any background detail. The incidents are not sorted by type, officer, or 
division, making it difficult for the Police Commission to spot trends or problem 
areas. The Police Commission does not have adequate time or resources to 
analyze the summaries and look for patterns. 

The Police Commission only receives the summaries about once a 
month, and they are not current. The summary for the period ending 
December 7, 1990 - which was not received by the Police Commission until 
March 11, 1991 - included reports on complaints dating back as far as January 
1990. In some instances the Police Commissioners do not learn of serious 
disciplinary matters until months, or even years, after the fact. 

This system of reporting makes it impossible for the Police 
Commission to monitor systematically the discipline imposed by the Chief in 
use of force and other cases. A number of witnesses before the Independent 
Commission testified that the Department treats dishonesty and substance 
abuse among its officers more severely than excessive force. It is appropriate 
for the Police Commission, as the head of the Department, to establish the 
policy that excessive force should be treated no less seriously than other forms 
of misconduct. But if the Police Commission cannot monitor disciplinary 
decisions, then it has no effective way to ensure that its policies are followed. 

17 

Use of force 

The Police Commission adopted the current system for reviewing 
officer-involved shootings and certain other use of force cases after the 
controversy that followed the fatal shooting of Eulia Love by two police officers 
in 1979. Under this system, certain use of force incidents are examined by the 
Department's Use of Force Review Board and the Chief. The Chiefs reports on 
these incidents are reviewed by the Police Commission's staff and the one 
Police Commissioner who serves as the use of force subcommittee, and are 
then presented to the Police Commission in its executive session. 

The Police Commission can adopt the findings of the Chief as to 
whether an incident is "in policy" or "out of policy," overrule those findings, or 
request that the Chief reconsider his findings or that the Department investigate 



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the incident further. Because its resources are limited and it has no 
investigators of its own, the Police Commission normally must rely on the 
Department's internal investigation. The Police Commission's findings on these 
use of force cases are final, but the decision whether to impose discipline for 
use of force the Police Commission determines to be "out of policy" is made by 
the Chief alone. 

One problem with this system is that there are no well-defined criteria 
that trigger the Police Commission's review. Currently, the Police Commission 
reviews all incidents involving discharge of a firearm; all in-custody deaths; and 
all deaths that resulted from, or were somehow involved with, law enforcement 
related activity. But it is unclear whether cases involving serious but non-fatal 
injuries inflicted by something other than a firearm - which were intended to be 
covered by the Eulia Love report recommendations - actually come before the 
Police Commission. Some members of the current Police Commission staff 
believe that if the Rodney King beating had not achieved notoriety through 
repeated broadcast of the Holliday videotape, the Police Commission probably 
would not have known about the incident at all. However, this view is disputed 
by a former Police Commissioner who was heavily involved in reviewing use of 
force cases. 

Although the Police Commission does not participate directly in 
discipline of sworn officers, the Eulia Love report ordered the Chief to report his 
discipline recommendations to the Police Commission in serious use of force 
cases before imposing any discipline. This procedure was designed to 
promote a more efficient and consistent disciplinary process by allowing the 
Police Commission to play some role in the consideration of disciplinary issues 
in significant cases affecting the public interest, while still granting the Chief 
exclusive authority to impose discipline. This system, however, was never put 
into practice. Once the Police Commission has made its finding, it hears 
nothing more about a use of force case until after the disciplinary decision has 
already been made and implemented. 

Other than reports on the use of force cases it reviews, the Police 
Commission regularly receives no other information concerning use of force. It 
has no access to personnel complaint forms or the use of force reports filed by 
officers. The Independent Commission's analysis of use of force problems 
contained in this Report was performed using data provided by the 



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Department. The Police Commission, as head of the Department, must have 
access to that data as well as the resources to analyze it. But some past and 
present Police Commissioners have testified that the Department's general 
practice is to make as little information as possible available to the Police 
Commission, and to comply with the Police Commission's information requests 
only after much delay and resistance. The Police Commission can enforce its 
requests only at the cost of provoking a confrontation with the Chief, Indeed, 
past Police Commissioners indicated that the Police Commission was able to 
obtain the discipline summaries themselves only after persistent requests and 
repeated objections from Chief Gates. Nor does the Police Commission have 
the resources to analyze what information it does obtain. As a result, the Police 
Commission is unable effectively to monitor the Department's use of force or to 
make policy recommendations. 

Grievances 

The Police Commission provides the final internal review for 
grievances of both sworn and civilian Department employees, who may appeal 
to the Police Commission if they are dissatisfied with the Chief's resolution of 
their grievance. Typically, the grievances that come before the Police 
Commission involve decisions not to promote the grievant. The Police 
Commission usually has from 15 to 20 grievances pending at any one time, 
and the staff analyst responsible for reviewing them is occupied with that task 
virtually full-time. 

Promotions 

Other than hearing grievances, the Police Commission's role in the 
promotion process is limited. One Police Commissioner sits on the interview 
panel for the Deputy Chief examination, a practice instituted in recent years to 
give the Police Commission more of a role in the Department's management 
decisions. The actual promotional decision, however, is made by the Chief. 

Complaints 

The Police Commission plays no role in the receipt, investigation, or 
resolution of complaints from the public. On occasion, the Police Commission 
receives complaints by telephone, letter, or personal appearance at a Police 



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Commission meeting. Because the Police Commission lacks the resources to 
investigate these complaints, they are simply referred to the Department. In 
cases brought to its attention at a public hearing, the Police Commission does 
occasionally ask the Chief to investigate and report the results. 

Budget Oversight 

Although the Police Commission is responsible for reviewing and 
approving the Department's annual budget, it has insufficient resources to 
participate meaningfully in the budget process. To the extent that past Police 
Commissions have made a significant contribution to the process, they have 
done so only when individual Police Commissioners were willing to devote 
substantial time to working with Department personnel on budget matters. 

Intelligence 

In 1984, the City Council, with the Police Commission's concurrence, 
entered into a consent decree settling a number of lawsuits that alleged illegal 
intelligence activities by the Department. As part of the consent decree, the 
Police Commission agreed to conduct "detailed periodic reviews" of those 
divisions of the Department charged with intelligence work. The guidelines 
adopted pursuant to the consent decree require that these reviews be annual; 
they are presently performed by the Police Commission staff analyst who is 
also responsible for grievances, along with the two Police Commissioners on 
the intelligence audit subcommittee and a representative from the City 
Attorney's office. The Police Commission staff told us that the review process 
is approximately one year behind, and one Police Commissioner on the 
intelligence audit subcommittee indicated that he is having difficulty obtaining 
access to some intelligence files, which the Department has told him have been 
transferred to the FBI. 

The Police Commission's Permit Function 

The City Charter and the Los Angeles Municipal Code give the Police 
Commission power to grant permits to 56 different types of businesses or 
activities, generally those the City Council has designated as areas of potential 
police concern, such as massage parlors and tow-truck operations. The 
Police Commission's permit function is handled by the Commission 



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Investigation Division (C.I.D.), a self-contained unit of the Police Commission 
staff consisting of an LAPD lieutenant and a staff of 47 (17 of whom are police 
officers). If C.I.D. recommends that a permit application be denied or an 
existing permit be suspended or revoked, the applicant or permittee can 
request a hearing before a Police Commission hearing examiner. If C.I.D. or 
the applicant/permittee disagrees with the hearing examiner's 
recommendation, the matter must be heard and decided by the Police 
Commission. 

Most Police Commissioners and other witnesses have criticized the 
amount of time the Police Commission devotes to permit matters. Not only 
would the Police Commissioners' time be better spent reviewing policy issues, 
but also substantial portions of Police Commission meetings - which represent 
the public's opportunity to participate in discussions of Department policy - are 
consumed mainly with matters of only tangential public interest. Accordingly, 
most of the witnesses who testified before the Independent Commission on this 
subject recommended that the Police Commission's permit function be 
delegated or transferred to another body. 

Police Commission Involvement in Policy Issues 

During the early years of Chief Gates' tenure, the Police Commission took 
an active role in debating and deciding issues of Department policy - often 
prompted by events of particular significance or notoriety. During the late 
1980s, in contrast, the Police Commission was far more passive in its 
relationship with the Department. 

Shooting Policy 

In September 1977, the Police Commission adopted a policy 
restricting the circumstances under which officers could use deadly force or 
could draw or exhibit their firearms. Adoption of the shooting policy marked 
the beginning of a period during which the Police Commission attempted - 
more assertively than at any time before or since - actively to exercise its 
civilian oversight powers. This period, which ended in approximately 1984, was 
characterized by frequent battles between the Police Commission and the Chief 
over the adoption and implementation of new policies for the Department, 



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Eulia Love 

On January 3, 1979, two officers fatally shot Eulia Love, an African- 
American woman, in a confrontation that received widespread publicity. Chief 
Gates found that the shooting was in policy and determined that no discipline 
should be imposed on the two officers. Following a public outcry, the Police 
Commission conducted its own investigation of the shooting. Because the 
Police Commission did not have staff available to conduct the investigation, it 
had to obtain special funds from the City Council in order to hire a team of 
outside investigators and consultants. In its report the Police Commission 
determined that the shooting was out of policy, but concluded that because the 
Chief had already decided no discipline was necessary, any disciplinary action 
would violate the officers 1 due process rights. 

The Eulia Love report adopted significant reforms in the 
Department's procedures concerning use of force. However, some of these 
reforms for example, that the Police Commission employ special hearing 
officers, special counsel, and temporary investigative staff to investigate use of 
force incidents where necessary -- were never implemented. In particular, the 
report stated that the Police Commission required two additional full-time 
permanent staff members who would be hired directly by the Police 
Commission independently of the Department and the civil service system. 
This was never done. The report also stated that in serious use of force cases, 
the Chief should report any intended disciplinary action to the Police 
Commission before implementing it. Again, this procedure has not been 
followed. The Chief makes his disciplinary decision without informing or 
consulting the Police Commission. 

The Eulia Love report generally was hailed as a sign that the Police 
Commission was reasserting civilian control over the Department. In fact, the 
Eulia Love incident illustrates both the potential and the deficiencies of Police 
Commission oversight of the Department. The Police Commission was able to 
draw on a widely-publicized shooting to improve to some extent the 
Department's handling of serious use of force cases and to reform use of force 
training. But it could not do so without requesting special funds for 
investigators and consultants. And once the policies were formulated, they 
could not be implemented unless the Department agreed to follow them. In 
those instances where the Department opted to follow a different course, there 



194 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

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was nothing the Police Commission could do short of forcing a major 
confrontation with Chief Gates - a divisive step the Police Commission chose 
not to take. 

Chokehold 

The chokehold issue was brought before the Police Commission in 
the early 1980s by City Council members and concerned individuals who felt 
that the chokehold was being disproportionately applied in minority 
communities. The dispute was prompted by the deaths of up to 16 persons, 
mostly African-American, between 1975 and 1982 due to use of the chokehold. 
In May 1982, Chief Gates recommended that the Department abandon use of 
the "bar-arm" hold, the more dangerous of two chokeholds that the 
Department had been using. The Chief advocated continued use of the 
"modified carotid" chokehold. Instead, the Police Commission imposed a 
moratorium on both chokeholds, but eventually allowed the "modified cartoid" 
hold to be used to counter a threat of serious injury or death. That policy is still 
in place today. 

Public Disorder Intelligence Division 

The early 1980s were marked by disturbing new revelations that the 
Department's Public Disorder Intelligence Division ("PDID") was engaged in 
improper intelligence activities, including keeping files on public figures and 
infiltrating political organizations. In 1983 and 1984, the Police Commission 
conducted an investigation into the PDID and concluded that improper 
practices within the division were the responsibility of "top sworn management" 
of the Department, "including past and present assistant chiefs and chiefs of 
police." Although the Police Commission decided in 1983 to abolish the PDID 
and replace it with the Anti-Terrorist Division, which is subject to stricter 
oversight by the Police Commission and the City Attorney's office, the Police 
Commission declined to take any disciplinary action in connection with the 
PDID. 

Justice for Janitors 

On June 15, 1990, approximately 100 police officers clashed with 400 
striking janitors and their supporters (members of organized labor's nationwide 



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Report of the Independent Commission 



"Justice for Janitors" campaign) in Century City. As a result of this violent 
confrontation, 40 marchers were arrested and at least 16 were injured. 

On June 18, 1990, Mayor Bradley requested that the Police 
Commission investigate the incident. Because the Police Commission did not 
have an investigator on its staff who could be assigned this task, a Police 
Commissioner personally conducted the investigation with the assistance of the 
Commanding Officer. The Police Commission's report, issued on November 
20, 1990, recommended that Department policy regarding labor disputes be 
expanded in certain respects and that Department personnel receive updated 
training on the handling of demonstrations. These policy changes reportedly 
are being implemented. As to charges that excessive force was used during 
the incident, the report concurred with certain criticisms made by the 
Department in its use of force review. 

39th and Dalton 

On August 1, 1988, 88 police officers were involved in a drug raid on 
four apartments in the 3900 block of Dalton in which extensive property 
damage was inflicted. In contrast to its approach to the Eulia Love shooting 
and the PDID, the Police Commission did not undertake any investigation of the 
raid despite widespread publicity and controversy. Indeed, the Police 
Commissioners were kept only marginally informed on the progress of the 
Department's own investigation. The 39th and Dalton raid, and the Police 
Commission's failure to investigate or exercise any oversight in the aftermath of 
the raid, prompted some - including City Council members to express 
serious doubts about the Police Commission's effectiveness in providing citizen 
oversight of the Police Department. 

The King Incident 

The King beating, which is discussed in detail in Chapter I, occurred 
on March 3, 1991. Following the incident, the Police Commission began an 
investigation. On April 4, 1991, three Police Commissioners met with Chief 
Gates and placed him on inactive duty, effective immediately, pending the 
outcome of the Police Commission's investigation. This order was quickly 
overturned by the City Council and has resulted in extensive litigation. 



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On May 1, 1991, in the course of the litigation, an attorney for several 
civil rights organizations revealed that Commissioner Lomax had supplied him 
with a copy of a letter in which the City Attorney's office had given legal advice 
to the Police Commission, and which the Police Commission had claimed was 
protected by the attorney-client privilege. This disclosure prompted criticism 
from several City Council members and led Police Commission President 
Garcia to question whether the incident had damaged the Police Commission's 
credibility. In his subsequent opinion, Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian 
expressed the view that the incident did not "inspire uncritical confidence in the 

19 

conduct of the members of the Board," 

On May 7, 1991, Police Commission President Garcia resigned, citing 
"significant questions over the perceived integrity of the Police Commission and 
the prospect of continued internecine warfare among members of [the City's] 
municipal government/' He faulted the City Council for interjecting itself into 
Police Commission business, both by settling the Gates lawsuit and by refusing 
the Police Commission funds to investigate the management of the Department 
in the wake of the King beating. Garcia stated that it would be difficult for 
anyone to serve on the Police Commission in a meaningful capacity until the 
"rules of the game" with respect to citizen oversight of the Department were 
"straightened out." In recent interviews, members of the City Council have 
told the Independent Commission that the Police Commission, as currently 
constituted, lacks credibility both because of its hasty action in placing Chief 
Gates on inactive duty and because of the disclosure of the City Attorney 
opinion. 

STATUS AND ROLE OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE 

Powers and Duties of the Chief 

The Chief of Police is the general manager and chief administrative officer 
of the Police Department. His powers and duties are coextensive with the 
Police Department's mandate to enforce the law and maintain public order. 
He is responsible for instructing and managing the Department's sworn police 
officers (the Department currently includes approximately 8,450 sworn and 
deployed officers) and civilian employees (currently numbering 2,672), His 



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regular duties include interpreting Police Commission policy directives and 
initiating procedural manuals for police officers. 

The Chief is assisted by an executive staff composed mostly of police 
commanders and deputy chiefs. Chief Gates personally selects officers for 
promotion to these ranks, At present, the Police Department has seven deputy 
chiefs (two of whom, David Dotson and Robert Vernon, currently hold the 
higher pay grade position of Assistant Chief), and 17 police commanders. 
Although the Police Department's budget currently would support three 
assistant chiefs, the Chief exercises complete discretion in determining whether 
to fill some or all of these positions and, if so, whom to promote from among 
his deputy chiefs. 

The Chief has power to control the conduct of the Department's police 
officers anc^ civilian employees through his exclusive Charter authority to initiate 
discipline. The Chiefs control over the discipline ultimately administered is 
checked, however, by three legal constraints: (1) the Charter's civil service 
provisions, including the Board of Rights procedure governing suspension or 
discharge of sworn officers; (2) the right of sworn officers to an administrative 
appeal from any "punitive action" under the California Public Safety Officer's 
Procedural Bill of Rights Act (the "Police Officer's Bill of Rights"); and (3) the 
constitutional rights of all tenured civil service employees to procedural due 
process before suspension or discharge. 

Although each of these legal constraints creates procedural and 
substantive hurdles for the Chief in enforcing disciplinary action, the most 
burdensome is the Charter's Board of Rights procedure. The Charter 
precludes the Chief from initiating discipline based upon conduct occurring 
more than one year earlier, and entitles an accused officer to a full hearing 

28 

before a Board of Rights composed of three high ranking police officers. The 
Board of Rights may find the officer noyjuilty of the misconduct charged and 
overturn the Chief's disciplinary order. Even if the Board of Rights finds 
misconduct, it may reduce the Chiefs prescribed penalty. 

Selection and Appointment of the Chief 

The Police Commission has exercised its Charter authority to appoint a 
Chief of Police four times since 1950, beginning with William Parker, the first 
LAPD Chief to hold office through successive mayoral administrations. 



198 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

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Following Chief Parker's death in 1966, the Police Commission appointed Tom 
Reddin, who served three years before leaving the Department for employment 
in the private sector. Ed Davis took office in 1969, announced his retirement in 
1977, and departed in January 1978 to pursue a political career, In 1978, the 
Police Commission appointed Daryl Gates. 

The Police Commission selects the Chief from among the top competitors 
in a civil service examination administered by the Personnel Department at the 
direction of the Civil Service Board. Within the Charter's parameters, the Civil 
Service Board is free to instruct the Personnel Department to recruit and test 
applicants for particular job vacancies in whatever manner the Board deems 
appropriate. 

The 1977 civil service competition leading to Chief Gates 7 appointment was 
controversial. For the first time in history, the Civil Service Board opened the 
competition to applicants outside the^LAPD despite stiff opposition, particularly 
from within the Police Department. Since 1977, the Civil Service Board 
routinely has authorized open competition for other top city manager positions. 
To facilitate open competition, the Personnel Department now has a division 
specializing in nationwide executive searches and recruitment. 

The Civil Service Board commonly authorizes interview-only examinations 
for top management positions, including, most recently, the 1991 examination 
for the position of police deputy chief. The Civil Service Board, with guidance 
from the Personnel Department, exercises complete discretion in selecting 
interview panels. Interview panels for top management positions consist of 
respected community leaders, including professionals and academics in 
relevant fields. 

Upon conclusion of a civil service examination, the candidates are scored 
and the Civil Service Board certifies those eligible for consideration. Outside 
candidates are severely disadvantaged in this process by a Charter provision 
that precludes certification of any outside applicant unless he or she scores 
higher than the highest scoring inside applicant boosted by seniority points. 
Thus, if the top score (including seniority points) is earned by an inside 
candidate, then only insiders will be certified - even if some have lower scores 
than some outside candidates. 

The Civil Service Board ameliorated this limitation somewhat in 1986 when, 

34 

with the Police Commission's support, it amended the seniority rules to 



Chapter 10; Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

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reduce the credit allowed in competitions for management positions from ,25 to 
.10 points per year, with an overall cap of 1.0 points. Candidates for the 
positions of police captain and above are subject to this cap. 

Discipline and Removal of the Chief 

As discussed previously in connection with limitations on the Police 
Commission's power to hold the Chief accountable, the Chiefs civil service 
status requires the Police Commission to initiate a full scale adversary 

36 

proceeding in order to suspend or remove him from office. These protracted, 
cumbersome procedures are set forth in Section 202 of the Charter, which 
declares the Chiefs job to be a "substantial property right" from which he 
cannot be suspended or removed except: 

for good and sufficient cause shown upon a finding 
of "guilty" of the specific charge or charges 
assigned as cause or causes therefor after a full, 
fair and impartial hearing before the [Board of Civil 
Service Commissioners] .3? 

In order to suspend or remove the Chief, the Police Commission must charge 
him with^misconduct in a sworn complaint setting out the facts supporting the 
charge. No charge may be based upon conduct occurring more than one 
year earlier. The Chief can require the Police Commission to prove its 
charges in a hearing before the Civil Service Board at which the Chief may 
cross-examine the witnesses against him. If the Civil Service Board finds the 
Chief guilty as charged, it must prescribe a penalty ot reprimand, suspension, 
or discharge, which the Police Commission may reduce, but not increase. 

At any phase of the proceedings against him, the Chief may seek a writ of 
mandamus in the superior court to remedy any perceived violation of the 
Charter's prerequisites, as Chief Gates did in challenging the Police 
Commission's attempt to place him on inactive duty. Further, because the 
Charter declares the Chiefs job to be a "substantial property right," he may 
challenge the proceedings against him in state or federal court to prevent any 

42 

violation of his constitutional, procedural due process rights. Finally, if a 
penalty is imposed at the conclusion of the Section 202 proceedings, the Chief 
may file suit in the superior court. 

Even if the Police Commission were undaunted by the procedural hurdles 
to removing the Chief, the Charter offers little guidance on the substantive 



200 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

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grounds sufficient to support such action. A Charter provision that pre-dates 
the 1937 amendments giving the Chief civil service protection states the 
following grounds for removal of general managers: 

[t]he board may issue instructions to the general 
manager of its department concerning his exercise 
of any of the powers conferred upon him by this 
charter. Failure on his part to comply with such 
instructions, or incompetency, dishonesty, 
discourtesy, or neglect of duty shall constitute 
adequate grounds for his removal by said board. 44 

45 

Although the City Attorney has opined that these grounds are not exclusive, it 
is uncertain whether the Chief lawfully could be removed for the actions of 

46 

others under his command or for lack of confidence in his management. 

The Independent Commission has heard testimony from several witnesses 
who criticized the present management of the Police Department for, among 
other things, a lack of command accountability, communication, and clear 
direction at the highest levels. Yet, under civil service standards, it is 
questionable whether these management problems, if true, would constitute 
sufficient "good cause" for removing the Chief. 

Political Activity of the Chief 

The Police Chief's right to endorse candidates is protected by state law: 
The political activity of civil service employees cannot be limited unless federal 
law requires otherwise. In addition, the Police Officer's Bill of Rights provides 
that, except while on duty or in uniform, the right of police officers to engage in 

47 

political activity cannot be restricted. 

Although the Chief has the legal right to make political endorsements while 
off-duty and out of uniform, Chief Gates' exercise of this right has caused some 
controversy. In 1984, several Police Commissioners criticized Chief Gates' 
endorsement of then District Attorney Robert Philibosian, who was running for 
reelection. At that time, one Police Commissioner expressed the view that the 
endorsement politicized the Department, damaged officer morale, and 
undermined public confidence in the Department's impartiality and objectivity. 

Chief Gates' recent endorsement of City Council member Hal Bernson for 
reelection raised similar issues. A newspaper survey of eight other big city 
police chiefs conducted after the Bernson endorsement found that, regardless 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues the Police Commission 

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of their legal right to do so, almost all of the chiefs believe that a police chief 
should refrain from making political endorsements under any circumstances. 
In his testimony before the Independent Commission, Chief Gates agreed, 
saying that he had endorsed Council member Bernson because he was 
"angry," that the endorsement was "improper," and that the practice of making 
such endorsements "should be discouraged." 

The Police Commission's Relationship With Chief Gates 

Selection and Appointment of Chief Gates 

Although the 1977 civil service competition for the Chiefs job was 
open to outside applicants, the only candidates ultimately certified for the 
Police Commission's consideration were career LAPD officers. The Police 
Commission could not legally consider the competitor with the highest 
examination score - an outsider, the Chief of Police of Santa Monica -because 
Daryl Gates beat his score with thejiddition of 3.15 seniority points. Applying 
the Charter's former "rule of three," the Civil Service Board certified only the 
three top scoring inside candidates: Daryl Gates, Robert Vernon, and Charles 
Reese. 

The careers of the three final contenders before the Police 
Commission were notably similar. Daryl Gates, 51, had served on the force for 

50 

nearly 29 years, the last eight as an assistant chief, Both Robert Vernon, 44, 
and Charles Reese, 50, had been LAPD officers for 23 years and had achieved 
the rank of deputy chief. 

Upon his appointment, Chief Gates anticipated conflict with the Police 
Commission. At gatherings celebrating the new Chief, various Police 
Commissioners spoke forcefully of a need for change and improvement in the 

51 

Department's flexibility and priorities. The new Chief, on the other hand, did 
not foresee immediate change in the Department and regarded the Police 
Commissioners as "not an easy group/' Although Chief Gates said that he 
would "do his utmost to get along" with the Police Commissioners, he warned 
that "[s]ure I'm going to take issue with them, I've already told them that and 
they know that." 



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Annual Performance Review of Chief Gates 

in 1986, the City Council adopted a Merit Pay Plan for General 
Managers designed to link compensation to management performance 54 
Under the Plan, the Police Chief is rated by the Police Commission, the Mayor, 
and an Executive Employee Relations Committee composed of selected City 
Council members and chaired by the Mayor. The Council uses these ratings to 
support its biennial decision on whether to adjust the Chiefs salary. 

Through a perfunctory and routine process, the Police Commission 
documents its assessment of the Chief's performance on a form provided by 
the Mayor's office. The Chief's staff drafts the Chief's performance goals and 
self-evaluation. The President of the Police Commission, occasionally with 
input from other Police Commissioners, assigns performance ratings. The form 
is returned to the Mayor's office and, presumably, a copy makes its way into 
the Chief's personnel file. 

Former Police Commissioners concede that the Police Commission 
has not used this rating process to evaluate the Chiefs performance critically 
and has given him high marks as a matter of course. From 1986 through 1990, 
the President of the Police Commission gave the Chief the highest possible 
rating for each category on the form - "outstanding" or an equivalent. One 
Police Commissioner described the performance review as no more than "a 
feel good session" between the Chief and the Police Commission. 

Despite the many differences of opinion publicly expressed between 
the Mayor and the Police Chief, the Mayor also has given the Chief high ratings 
in the salary review. The City Council has followed suit, awarding the Chief 
(and three other general managers) higher raises than were awarded to any 
other general managers for the period beginning January 1, 1991. 

Discipline of Chief Gates 

In the more than 13 years that Chief Gates has held office, the Police 
Commission twice has attempted to take formal disciplinary action against him, 
and once succeeded. The Police Commissions first action was its official 
reprimand of the Chief in June 1982 for insensitive remarks, specifically citing 
his comment that when the chokehold is applied to African-Americanos "the 
veins or arteries do not open up as fast as they do in normal people." One 
former Police Commissioner revealed that the Police Commission chose to 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues « the Police Commission 

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issue a reprimand in the belief that no disciplinary hearing or appeal would be 
required. The Police Commission's second action was its unsuccessful 
attempt, on April 4, 1991, to place Chief Gates on inactive duty pending an 
investigation of potential charges against him arising out of the Rodney King 
incident. 

THE LAPD'S RELATIONSHIP TO 

OTHER ENTITIES OF CITY GOVERNMENT 

In the course of carrying out their responsibilities under the Charter, both 
the Police Commission and the Chief have varying degrees of interaction with 
the City's elected officials. 

The Mayor 

The Mayor has no authority over the Police Department or the Chief except 
by appointment of members of the Police Commission. Like previous mayors, 
Mayor Bradley, sometimes has appointed friends or political allies to the Police 
Commission; but he also has appointed persons who were neither. Many of 
Mayor Bradley's appointees have been people of prominence and stature, 
leaders in the business and legal communities. Several former Police 
Commissioners told the Independent Commission they received little direction 
or assistance from the Mayor, either at the time of their appointment or after; 
one told us he assumed he was appointed because the Mayor wanted a less 
confrontational Police Commission, but he never was told so directly. Although 
the Mayor's granting of free rein to his appointed Commissioners is 
commendable in one sense, his unwillingness over the years to exert more 
leadership using the inherent powers of his office has contributed to the Police 
Commission's ineffectiveness. 

The Mayor for his part testified about his frustration with the Police 
Commission's and his own lack of real authority over the Department and the 
Chief, especially because the public nonetheless holds the Mayor accountable 
for the Police Department. In his view, if a Chief ignores direction from the 
Police Commission, "there is no way to rein him in/' which is the reason Police 
Commissions have been ineffective. 

A liaison from the Mayor's office attends Police Commission meetings and 
also interacts directly with the Chief; but here, too, the effectiveness of the 



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relationship with the Department depends on the voluntary cooperation of the 
Chief. The Mayor also participates in the biennial merit pay review of the Chief, 
but again - like the Police Commission and the City Council - he has not used 
the process to evaluate the Chief critically. 

The City Council 

The Charter does not assign the City Council particular oversight or control 
of the Police Department. The Council does, however, have a panoply of 
powers available by which can influence the administration of the Department 
such as its control over litigation (which includes the power to settle all lawsuits 
against the City) and its new powers under Charter Amendment 5. The Council 
has been involved in approving many substantial settlements arising out of 
alleged police misconduct, in many instances apparently without extensive 
consideration, A more systematic review of this litigation might have prompted 
the Council to look more critically at the Police Department and consider 
adoption of corrective measures. 

The Council also can influence the administration of the Department by 
exercise of certain other powers. First, the Council can exert control through 
the budget process by allocating to or withholding from the Department general 
funds. By line item detail the Council can specify programs being funded, 
numbers of officers assigned to programs, or equipment being purchased for 
various uses. 

Second, the City Council formally reviews the Chief of Police in the course 
of its biennial determination of salary changes. As indicated above, the Council 
has not used this process to evaluate critically either the Chief or, through him, 
the Department. 

Third, through the process of confirmation of the Mayor's appointments to 
and removals from the Police Commission, the City Council has an advise and 
consent role in the constituting of the Police Commission. Some members of 
the Council have expressed the view that the confirmation process has not 
involved sufficiently close scrutiny of Police Commission designees, and in light 
of the recent conflict between the Council and the Police Commission, far more 
careful scrutiny is likely in the future. 

Fourth, the exercise of the traditional legislative power to conduct hearings 
and studies also provides a means for review of the Department. In fact, the 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

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Human Resources and Labor Relations Committee and the Public Safety 
Committee of the Council each is in the process of developing 
recommendations that ultimately are expected to go before the full City Council 
for consideration. 

Finally, Council offices maintain communications with members of the 
Department from police captains to the Chief of Police, covering such 
community issues as narcotics, vice, and other criminal activity appearing in 
their neighborhoods. 

The City Attorney 

The City Attorney servers as legal counsel to the City Council, the Police 

Commission, and the Chief. The City Attorney must represent the City in all 

litigation in which it has an interest, and must represent officers of the City such 

as the Chief and the Police Commissioners when directed to do so by the City 
58 ' 3 

Council. The City Attorney also serves as legal adviser to the Police 

Department and the Police Commission. It does not, however, because of 

potential conflicts with its role in defending the City in civil suits, handle criminal 

charges against police officers. All such matters are referred to the District 

Attorney. 

Courts have held that the City Attorney's current varied responsibilities do 
not present a legal conflict of interest. In practice, however, conflicts can 
sometimes develop. For example, the City Attorney advised the Police 
Commission as to the proper procedures for placing Chief Gates on inactive 
duty, and subsequently acted as counsel to the City Council in its successful 
attempt to rescind the Police Commission's order to that effect. 

In addition, witnesses have told the Independent Commission that the 
Police Commission is insufficiently informed about civil litigation involving the 
Department. For example, the Police Commission did not learn of a recent 
multi-million-dollar settlement in a case involving a police shooting until after the 
settlement. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

The Police Commission should exercise citizen oversight and control over 
the Police Department, while also functioning as a buffer against improper 
political influences. The existing Charter structure, however, no longer strikes a 



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proper balance between the desire to protect the Chief from corrupting political 
pressure and the need to retain a reasonable measure of public control of the 
policing function. The Police Commission - while given broad authority over 
the Department and its Chief ~ has neither the resources nor the real power to 
perform effective oversight and control. The Police Commission must be 
provided with adequate staff resources and the ability to hold the Police Chief 
accountable for following and implementing its policy directives. It cannot 
exercise its authority meaningfully when its powers to select a new Chief or 
discipline or remove a recalcitrant one are severely constrained by complex 
and burdensome civil service procedures. 

The recommendations that follow are designed to remedy the existing 
imbalance. These recommendations must be viewed as an integrated whole; 
to work properly, to achieve their intended effect, they must be taken together. 
To grant the Police Commission substantial additional staff, for example, would 
be largely for naught if the Police Chief remains overly insulated from 
accountability to the Police Commission and the public. 

As discussed in Chapter 9 of this Report, we also recommend that the 
Police Commission be assigned a direct, major role in handling citizen 
complaints against police officers and employees. Citizens must believe they 
can lodge complaints that will be investigated and determined fairly, and steps 
must be taken to head off costly lawsuits against the Department. 

Our recommendations to accomplish these objectives fall into three 
categories: (a) those dealing with the Police Commission itself; (b) those 
dealing with the Chief of Police; and (c) those specifically relating to citizen 
complaints, already discussed in Chapter 9. To the extent the Charter must be 
amended to implement any of these recommendations, we have so indicated. 
We also recommend that, in view of the importance of the Police Commission's 
oversight responsibilities and to avoid undermining its ability effectively to carry 
out its special role, Charter Amendment 5 be modified to exempt the Police 
Commission from its provisions. We note that under the reforms described 
below, the City Council will still retain an important role in oversight of the Police 
Department in that its approval will be required in order to remove the Chief of 
Police before the expiration of his term. Finally, we suggest that the Police 
Commission - which under current law has no standing to sue - be given 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

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legal standing to seek judicial relief when necessary to carry out its oversight 
function. 

Recommendation 1: The Police Commission 

The Police Department should continue to be under the general 
oversight and control of a citizen Police Commission, responsible for 
setting overall Department policies and monitoring their implementation, 
and for reporting annually to the Mayor and the City Council on the state 
of the Department The Police Commission should remain a five-member, 
part-time body. Police Commissioners should reflect the City's diversity, 
and be persons of stature and experience with the ability to make 
balanced, fair-minded judgments and to act constructively and decisively. 
Police Commissioners should serve a maximum of five years, with 
staggered terms; and no one should serve more than two consecutive 
years as President. Police Commissioners 9 compensation should be 
increased substantially to reflect the importance of the position and the 
significant time commitment required. 

The Police Commission's independent staff should be increased and 
placed under the direction and control of a civilian Chief of Staff, a general 
manager-level employee selected by and reporting directly to the Police 
Commission and responsible for managing the Police Commission's 
oversight function. Most, if not all, of the additional staff should be civilian 
employees with expertise in areas most useful to the Police Commission, 
including management auditors, computer-systems data analysts, 
investigators with law enforcement experience, and attorneys. 

The Police Commission's permit function should be reassigned to 
another body, either inside or outside the Police Department 

DISCUSSION OF RECOMMENDATION 1: 
Citizen oversight 

The people of Los Angeles want a strong, effective, corruption-free 
Police Department; but they also want this quasi-military organization to remain 
ultimately subject to citizen control, just like other police departments 
throughout the country and much as the nation's military is ultimately headed 



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by civilians. Although one mechanism for such control would be to make the 
Department, through the Chief, directly accountable to the Mayor or the City 
Council or both, the public historically has chosen to interpose a voluntary, 
part-time group of citizens to buffer and constrain what has been viewed as the 
potentially corrupting influence of "politics" on the Department, 

The citizenry also opted to place the police chief position under civil 
service, a status that has provided the Chief with substantial insulation from 
outside influences, but -- unfortunately - insulation also from effective control 
by the Police Commission. It is to restore the intended balance of power 
between the Police Commission and Chief that we are recommending the 
combination of changes relating to the Police Commission itself, as well as to 
the civil service provisions affecting the Chief, discussed below. 

Further, by requiring the Police Commission to report annually on the 
state of the Department, we create a mechanism whereby the Mayor, the City 
Council, and the public at large can judge the performance of the Department 
and its management. In this fashion, those responsible for the City's police 
services can discuss policies and practices in the open -- and with 
accountability. 

Part-time Police Commissioners 

A number of witnesses suggested that the Police Commission has 
too much responsibility to function effectively with part-time members, and thus 
either the entire Police Commission should serve full time (like the Board of 
Public Works), or at least the Police Commission's President should serve full 
time during his or her term as President. We are persuaded, however, that this 
approach would create more problems than it would solve and would risk 
diminishing the pool of talented persons able to serve on the Police 
Commission. Despite their part-time status, several Police Commissioners over 
the past two decades have devoted substantial time and energy to their Police 
Commission duties. Accordingly, we recommend that the Police 
Commissioners continue to serve part-time, with the understanding that a 
substantial time commitment is required. We also recommend that the 
important structural changes detailed below be adopted to make Police 
Commissioners more effective. 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues -- the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 209 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Qualifications 

Whatever structure might exist, the Police Commission is only as 
strong and effective as its membership. Service on the Police Commission has 
two important components; first, to bring to the Police Commission various 
experiences and viewpoints representative of this diverse City; second, to 
develop and oversee policies of the Department, acting primarily through the 
Chief, It is imperative therefore that persons appointed to the Police 
Commission have the stature, experience and character to oversee the 
Department and command respect. 

The Police Commission should be reasonably diverse in terms of 
race, ethnicity and gender. An overriding qualification for appointment should 
be a demonstrated ability to make balanced judgments. The Police 
Commission tends to act as a collegia! body in developing policies and 
overseeing Department operations; both to achieve consensus among 
themselves and to relate to others in authority - including the Chief, the Mayor 
and the City Council - Police Commissioners need to be decisive but fair. 
Recklessness or insensitivity on the part of any Police Commissioner can 
undermine the effectiveness of that Commissioner and perhaps the entire 
Police Commission. Witnesses have emphasized that Police Commissioners 
are expected to be strong-willed people, given the nature and responsibilities of 
the position; but, equally, the only way Police Commissioners and the Police 
Commission itself can succeed in exercising authority with strength is to be 
perceived as acting diligently and fairly. 

Tenure limits 

The Charter already provides for five-year, staggered terms for Police 
Commissioners; but in practice mayors have altered both the sequencing and 
tenure of appointments to suit their respective agendas for governing the City. 
We believe mayors should have some flexibility in their appointments (which 
are in any event subject to City Council confirmation); but we have been 
persuaded by witnesses who believe that the Police Commission functions best 
if there is new leadership on a regular basis, and that a policy of a five-year 
maximum term is appropriate. Experience teaches that Police Commissioners 
bring a great deal of energy to the demanding requirements of the Police 
Commission, but that sheer pressures of time and other commitments tend to 



210 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



Report of the Independent Commission 



erode a Police Commissioner's effectiveness over time. Similarly, a policy of a 
two-year term limit on the Presidency is designed to assure healthy turnover in 
this important position. Police Commissioners would continue to be appointed 
and subject to removal by the Mayor, with the City Council's concurrence. 

In recommending term limits for both Police Commission and 
presidential tenure, we are mindful of the need for continuity, time to develop 
knowledge about the Department, and the desirability of getting the best from 
the talented persons who serve on the Police Commission. But we are equally 
concerned about Police Commissioners losing their objectivity and creativity. 

Compensation 

Although Police Commissioners serve part-time, the amount of time 
required to do the job adequately is substantial, typically involving many hours 
beyond the weekly half-day Tuesday meetings. Analogizing again to a 
corporate board of directors, we recommend that the Charter be amended to 
enable Police Commissioners to be compensated much like outside directors. 
Approximately $1500 per month seems reasonable, and consistent with the 
high level of public trust and responsibility demanded by the position, and the 
special importance of the Police Commission's oversight role. We also 
emphasize that Police Commissioners should not only attend the Police 
Commission's weekly meetings, but keep fully abreast of Department affairs so 
as to discharge effectively their oversight responsibilities. 

Chief of Staff 

Witnesses have been unanimous that the Police Commission cannot 
discharge its functions without more staff support. Currently the Police 
Commission's five-member staff is headed by a sworn officer at the 
commander level. Implying no criticism of those who have held the position, 
we believe the Police Commission should have a Chief of Staff who is ultimately 
accountable to it, rather than the Chief of Police, as is the case with sworn 
personnel, and who will directly manage a Police Commission staff enhanced 
with personnel sufficient to make the Police Commission an effective oversight 
and policy making body. The need for such a Chief of Staff and support staff is 
driven by the part-time status of the Police Commissioners, by the need for 
independent oversight capability, and - assuming citizen complaints are 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 21 1 



Report of the Independent Commission 



brought under the Police Commission's jurisdiction by the requirements of 
that complaint process. 

The Chief of Staff should be a general manager-level employee, 
exempt from civil service, but recruited and interviewed under the auspices of 
the City's Personnel Department in cooperation with the Police Commission. 
The Chief of Staff should be selected by and serve at the pleasure of the Police 
Commission. All other Police Commission staff would report to the Chief of 
Staff, including the Commander, who as a sworn officer would continue as an 
important liaison with the Department, (We recommend against reducing the 
Commander position to a lower rank until there has been sufficient experience 
with the chief-of-staff structure.) 

Operationally, the Chief of Staff's responsibilities would include 
managing the Police Commission's agenda; helping to identify, articulate and 
oversee the implementation of policies; supervising staff review and analysis of 
Department data and reports (including detection of trends and identification of 
potential problems or weaknesses); conducting spot management audits of the 
Department as directed by the Police Commission; and acting as liaison with 
other City departments and officials (including the Mayor, City Council, and City 
Attorney's office). The Chief of Staff would be a source of information and 
historical perspective for the Commissioners, and would marshal! resources for 
individual Police Commissioners carrying out subcommittee assignments, such 
as use of force reviews or budgeting, or for Commissioners who might be 
pursuing special projects. 

The Chief of Staff would not have any operational authority within the 
Department itself. 

Additional Staff Support 

The Police Commission plainly needs additional resources to carry 
out its oversight and policy-making functions effectively. An example of a highly 
desirable staff capability, recommended by former Police Commissioners and 
Chief Gates and confirmed by the Independent Commission's own experience 
with the analytical resources made available to it, is an ability to use computers 
and develop software to gather and analyze data. Much of the information 
made available to the Police Commission comes in summary form, and over 
periods of time. Only by accumulating and tracking data can trends be 



212 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



Report of the Independent Commission 



identified and analyzed. For example, had the Police Commission had the staff 
and other resources to initiate and evaluate inquiries into patterns of complaints 
and discipline (imposed or not), it might have detected a problem of excess,ve 
use of force by certain officers. 

Another important staff capability is the ability to conduct spot 
management audits, comparable to the Chief's own Inspection and Control 
Section. The Police Commission should have experienced auditors 
accountants, investigators (including former police officers from the LAPD or 
elsewhere), and one or more attorneys to enable the Police Commission to 
identify problem areas, formulate and verify compliance with Police 
Commission policies and directives, and carry out ongoing functions (such as 
intelligence audits) in a timely manner. The Police Commission would be 
particularly helped by the presence of one or more attorneys on its staff to 
assist in monitoring citizen complaints and civil litigation. Although the Police 
Commission and the Police Department would continue to be represented by 
the City Attorney, a staff attorney could provide independent advice to the 
Police Commission where necessary, thus ameliorating the problem of 
practical conflicts discussed above. 

The precise number of additional staff should be determined after a 
more thorough analysis of required staff functions, but we anticipate at least 15 
to 20 such positions will be needed (not including persons involved in the 
receipt of citizen complaints). Specifically, while it should be up to the Police 
Commission to determine its own staffing needs, it appears to us based on 
discussions with Police Commissioners and Police Commission staff that 
staffing requirements would include at least one personnel analyst to handle 
grievances; a systems specialist to computerize the Police Commission's 
operations; four to five staff members (including analysts, at least one 
investigator, and at least one attorney) to assist on use of force, discipline, 
intelligence, and budget issues, as well as special research projects; an 
adequate inspection and control staff; and appropriate clerical staff. These staff 
members would not be Department employees, but would be hired directly by 
the Police Commission. We also note that while it is vital that the Police 
Commission not be understaffed, care should also be exercised to avoid 
creating an overstaffed bureaucracy. 



Chapter 10; Structural Issues the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 213 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Additional staff also will be needed to assist the Police Commission 
in carrying out its recommended citizen complaint functions, which have been 
described in Chapter 9 of this Report. In particular, we recommend that the 
Police Commission staff include an Inspector General who would be 
responsible for overseeing the receipt of citizen complaints, monitoring the 
progress of complaints through the IAD investigation process, and auditing the 
results of IAD's investigations. The Inspector General would report to the Police 
Commission under the supervision of the Chief of Staff, and would have a small 
staff to assist in the performance of duties related to citizen complaints. 

Permit Function 

There is general agreement that the limited time of a part-time Police 
Commission would be better spent on matters other than processing and 
hearing appeals from the Department's grants and denials of permits. The 
Charter should be amended to move this function to a more appropriate body. 

Recommendation 2: The Chief of Police 

The Chief of Police, as the chief executive officer of the Department, 
should be charged with and directly accountable for managing the 
operations of the Department, setting and implementing goals and 
policies consistent with the general directions of the Police Commission 
and delivering effective police services to the community. The Chief, 
while needing to be more responsive to the Police Commission and the 
City's elected leadership, also must be protected against improper 
political influences, but by a system of checks and balances more in 
keeping with modern municipal government than the present outdated 
and cumbersome civil service mechanisms. Thus, the selection, tenure, 
discipline and removal of the Police Chief should be exempted from 
existing civil service provisions. 

The Police Chief should be appointed by the Mayor with the advice 
and consent of a majority of the City Council. Candidates for Chief should 
be recruited, tested and ranked through a system of open competition 
administered by the City's Personnel Department in cooperation with the 
Police Commission. The Police Commission should select and submit the 
names of three recommended candidates in ranked order to the Mayor, 



214 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



Report of the Independent Commission 



who would appoint a Chief from among the three but with the option to 
request one additional set of three names if the Mayor concluded the 
initial recommendations were unacceptable. 

The Police Chief should serve a five-year term, renewable at the 
discretion of the Police Commission for one additional five-year term. 
There should be no property right in or to the position, nor any right to 
renewal; neither the Mayor nor the City Council should have authority to 
overrule the Police Commission's decision whether or not to renew the 
Chief for a second term. The Police Commission should perform a 
meaningful annual review of the Chiefs performance and document its 
evaluation. 

The Police Commission should have the authority to terminate the 
Chief prior to the expiration of the first or second five-year term, but the 
final decision to terminate should require the concurrence of the Mayor. 
The Chief thereafter may request a hearing before the City Council, which 
may in its discretion overrule the decision by a two-thirds vote. 

The Independent Commission recommends that the Chief of Police 
not endorse candidates for public office. 

DISCUSSION OF RECOMMENDATION 2: 

Civil Service Status 

Two themes emerge in discussions or testimony about the Los 
Angeles Police Department and its Chief of Police: First, the Department is free 
of the kinds of systemic corruption that have tarnished police departments in 
other major cities at various times and that characterized the LAPD before the 
Charter reforms of the 1930s. Second, because the Chief is selected and then 
protected in his position according to severe civil service constraints. Chiefs are 
in-bred and have little accountability to anyone outside the Department. 

Elsewhere in this Report we have detailed our findings regarding the 
operations of the Department, its strengths, and its shortcomings. The 
Department is justly praised for its honesty; but many perceive the Department 
to have suffered a growing isolation from the public it serves. A primary cause 
of this isolation, and an accompanying appearance of insensitivity to the 
complex and changing dynamics of this diverse community, might well be the 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 215 



Report of the Independent Commission 



over-protection afforded the Chief of Police by the Charter's civil service 
provisions. Intended to prevent political corruption and graft, these 
cumbersome restrictions have in practice muddled the Chiefs accountability 
and defeated citizen control of the Department. 

The negative consequences of the civil service status of the Chief are 
numerous. First, the selection process has effectively excluded competitors 
from outside the Department. Although the Department has bred talented 
officers who have risen through the ranks, there is no good reason to exclude 
from the pool of candidates top officers from other jurisdictions, or other 
qualified individuals. 

Second, incumbent Chiefs are so insulated from discipline by the 
Police Commission that policy-making and oversight by the Police Commission 
has vacillated between confrontation and appeasement. A Chief who chooses 
not to cooperate can find many ways to stall or kill a Police Commission's 
initiatives short of overt insubordination. The civil service procedures are so 
elaborate and the grounds for serious discipline so general that they virtually 
require a major confrontation to justify invoking the process. Moreover, 
because charges can be based only on conduct occurring within the past year, 
the ability of the Police Commission to evaluate and take action to correct 
failures of leadership that emerge over time is severely hampered. 

The practical result is that an incumbent Chief of Police becomes a 
Chief for life or until he or she decides to step aside. Indeed, in testimony 
before the Independent Commission, Chief Gates was candid in saying that 
when he became Chief in 1979, his own expectation was to remain for three to 
five years because "I thought that's going to be enough to be Chief of Police." 
He also told us that although he had intended to retire after the 1984 Olympics, 
the circumstances were never right and, like Chief Parker, "probably I've stayed 
longer than I should." Chief Gates cited his current controversy with the Police 
Commission as one circumstance impelling him to remain. In the private 
sector, allowing a chief executive officer having comparable responsibilities to 
become the sole arbiter of his own tenure would be to risk serious long-range 
consequences. Even in the public sector, specifically in other police 
departments, few chiefs of police enjoy the protected status afforded the Chief 
of the Los Angeles Police Department. 



216 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Third, in principle, any organization that has the same chief executive 
for too long risks stagnation, insensitivity, and the attrition of younger leaders 
who become frustrated with the lack of opportunity at the top. 

It is true that the barriers created by civil service status have helped 
to protect the Chief against improper political or other corrupt influences. But 
those protections were never envisioned to be one-sided: the powers and 
authority of the Police Commission were to have brought balance to the 
management and control of the Department, offsetting the power the Chief 
derives by not being directly accountable to the Mayor or the City Council, 

The need, therefore, is to find another way to achieve the desired 
balance, making the Chief accountable to the Police Commission (and 
ultimately to the citizens of Los Angeles through their elected representatives) 
without leaving the Chief or the Department unable to defend against corrupting 
pressures. We believe that in today's world, where so much of the public's 
business is subject to intensive scrutiny, the Charter can and should be 
amended to create a proper system of checks and balances without producing 
lifetime tenure for the Chief of Police. 

Appointment and Selection 

The selection process should be changed to increase the pool of 
available candidates and to increase the input of the Mayor and the City 
Council. In this way the City will be more likely to attract and hire the best talent 
in the country (which may, in fact, come from within the Department itself), and 
the City's elected representatives will have some influence over the direction of 
the Department and the quality of its leadership. 

The Personnel Department, in cooperation with the Police 
Commission, should continue to manage the recruiting and testing functions in 
the selection process; the Police Commission should be consulted as to the 
composition of the interview panel. This will assure that potential candidates 
are selected impartially and fairly. The competition should be open to any 
candidate meeting the minimum qualifications (such as experience, education, 
references). No bonus points should be given to LAPD promotional 
candidates; if there is an advantage to coming from within the Department, that 
should reflect itself in such candidates' test or interview performances. The 
objective should be to provide the Police Commission with a list of six or more 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 21 7 



Report of the Independent Commission 



candidates, in keeping with the spirit of the rule of "three whole scores," which 
would no longer be directly applicable. 

The Police Commission would, in turn, interview the candidates, 
select the most qualified, and rank them in order of preference. The Police 
Commission would send the names of its top three candidates to the Mayor, 
who could pick the Chief from that list or one additional list of three if the Mayor 
found the first group unacceptable. We recommend the Mayor be given this 
flexibility and discretion in making the final decision, particularly because it is 
the Mayor who is expected to lead the City as a whole, and is accountable for 
doing so. 

We also recommend the City Council be given the right to approve 
the Mayor's choice by majority vote, to bring the more focused perspective of 
the City's 15 districts. We expect that the collective wisdom of the Police 
Commission, the Mayor, and the Council, with accountability to the public, 
should produce a strong and capable leader, a Chief invested with respect and 
support generated by the nature of the selection process itself. 

Term Limit 

A one-time renewable term limit on the Chief's tenure accomplishes 
two objectives: First, the expectation will be that the Chief should serve at least 
a full five-year term, placing a burden on the Police Commission to justify earlier 
termination in ways that will withstand public scrutiny. For example, the Police 
Commission's annual review of the Chief's performance would presumably 
become more meaningful. Thus, some of the protections against corruption 
will be achieved simply by making the Police Commission (or the Mayor or City 
Council) explain why the Chief is being terminated prematurely. Indeed, this 
rationale was a principal justification for creating a 10-year term limit for the 
Director of the FBI, who serves at the pleasure of the President. 

Second, a term limit permits the orderly infusion of new leadership at 
the top of the Department. By breaking the term into two five-year increments, 
we provide the Police Commission with flexibility not to renew the term of a 
Chief who in its judgment ought not remain as Chief for another five years. 
Although such a decision would inevitably be subject to public scrutiny, the 
Police Commission as head of the Department must have the power to change 
a Chief who does not have the Police Commission's confidence. Only thus is 



21 8 Chapter 1 0: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



Report of the Independent Commission 



there meaningful accountability to the citizen body charged with ultimate 
oversight and policy-making responsibilities. 

Unlike early termination, the renewal decision should be the Police 
Commission's alone, although the Police Commission should seek the counsel 
of the Mayor and the City Council as elected representatives of the people, as 
well as other sources. Having done so, the Police Commission's decision 
should be final and not subject to being overruled by the Mayor or the Council. 
If the decision is to renew, there would be no obligation to open the position to 
competition. 

There is a strong consensus that 10 years as Chief is quite ample to 
master the Department, develop policies, and see them carried out, but not so 
long as to outstay one's creative energies and usefulness. (Indeed, former 
Chief Ed Davis told the Police Commission when he was appointed that seven 
years was his preferred tenure; Chief Gates testified to the Commission that he 
initially planned to stay for three to five years.) Even five years is sufficient to 
develop and implement meaningful policies and programs within the 
Department; and it is long enough to be attractive to candidates the City would 
want to compete for the job. Also, a five-year term would extend beyond the 
four-year term of the Mayor or a Council member, thus providing some 
measure of insulation to the Chief while not entirely hamstringing a new Mayor 
by burdening him with an unremovable Chief who is at odds with the Mayor's 
agenda (which, presumably, a majority of the voters had just approved). 

Termination 

In lieu of the complex and burdensome civil service procedures that 
now govern discipline and removal of the Chief, the protections inherent in our 
recommendations are more related to a legitimate political process that will 
better express the will of the people. Thus, in addition to the expectation that 
the Chief will serve at least a five-year term, any decision to remove the Chief 
before expiration of the first or second five-year term - that is, other than a 
decision not to renew for a second term - would have to garner the approval of 
the Mayor and would be subject to review by the City Council. If two-thirds of 
the Council disfavored early termination, the Police Commission's decision 
could be overruled. 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 219 



Report of the Independent Commission 



In sum, the Police Commission would tend to buffer direct political 
assaults on the Chief by the Mayor or City Council, because the Police 
Commission would have to initiate termination proceedings. The Mayor and 
the Council would check each other and the Police Commission, Only if all 
three entities coalesced could a Chief be fired before either five-year term 
ended. On the other hand, should the public believe these entities were unfairly 
ganging up on the Chief, both the Council and the Mayor are accountable to 
the voters at election time, and the Mayor is also normally viewed as 
accountable for the conduct of his Police Commissioners. 

We note that under California law, a Chief who serves at the pleasure 
of his appointing authority nonetheless is entitled to an administrative appeal 

61 

from any decision terminating his employment. We believe that the 
recommended procedures giving the Chief a right of appeal to the City Council 
would satisfy this entitlement. In addition, the Charter language describing the 
Chief's term limits must be drafted carefully to avoid any legal interpretation 
that the Chief has an implied property interest in the position. 

The combination of term limit plus a somewhat easier process for 
removal of the Chief should work to make the Chief more responsive to the 
citizen Police Commission and the elected leadership of the City, but not so 
easily removed that he stands naked against corrupting pressures. Moreover, 
one cannot ignore the tremendous power a Chief enjoys simply by being the 
Chief of Police. In establishing a system of checks and balances, the power of 
the office itself is a weighty element. 

Political Endorsements 

Because the Chiefs office is inherently powerful, it is unseemly for the 
Chief to use that position to influence the political process. It is particularly 
ironic to create a system to insulate the Chief from improper political pressure, 
and then have the Chief use that protected position to campaign on behalf of 
politicians who thereby become indebted to him. Such activity politicizes the 
Chief, and ultimately the Department. Chief Gates, in testimony before the 
Independent Commission, agreed, acknowledging that the public does not 
distinguish between the individual and the Chief of Police. Police chiefs in other 
major cities, former Chiefs Reddin and Davis, and other Los Angeles City 
department heads have refrained from making such endorsements as a matter 



220 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



Report of the Independent Commission 



of policy. We recommend that the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department 
exercise similar restraint. 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 221 



Report of the Independent Commission 



NOTES TO CHAPTER TEN 



1 . City Charter, sections 70(b), 77, 78. 

2. City Charter, sections 79(a), 80, 

3. City Charter, section 203; Municipal Code, sections 103.00-103.314, 

4. City Charter, section 73. 

5. City Charter, section 72. 

6. City Charter, section 74. 

7. City Charter, section 74. 

8. City Charter, section 71 ; Administrative Code, section 4.61 , 

9. City Charter, sections 199, 202(1), 

10. City Charter, section 202{1). 

11. Case No. BS 006 789 (LA. Cty. Super. Ct. May 13, 1991). 

12. See generally Fogelson, The Fragmented Metropolis (Harvard University Press, 1967); 
Kayden, The Los Angeles Past as it Approaches the Future (Claremont Graduate School, 
1990); Woods, The Progressives and the Police: Urban Reform and the Professionalization 
of the Los Angeles Police (Ph.D. Dissertation, UCLA, 1973). 

13. On April 19, 1991, the Los Angeles City Charter Study Group submitted recommendations 
to Mayor Bradley and the City Council regarding the scope of work, timetable, and budget 
and staffing requirements for a Charter revision study that would be conducted by a 
proposed Ad Hoc Commission on Charter Reform. 

1 4. Woods, note 1 2 above, pp. 270-31 4. 

15. A chart showing the governance structures of the police departments of 21 major cities in 
the United States is attached (Table 10-1), Only the Police Chiefs of Los Angeles, Cincinnati, 
Ohio and Columbus, Ohio serve for indefinite terms and cannot be removed without cause. 

16. Only two of these proposals would have exempted the Police Chief from the civil service: 
Charter Amendment i (Nov. 3, 1970) and Proposition U (Nov, 6, 1984). Two other ballot 
measures would have relaxed the civil service requirements for discipline and termination of 
other city managers, but not the Police Chief: Proposition H (Nov. 4, 1980) and Proposition 
4 (Nov. 12, 1983). 

17. The Department generally defines a reportable use of force incident as one in which a 
Department employee uses a "non-lethal control device or any physical force" (other than a 
firm grip control) to compel a person to obey his directions; to overcome resistance by a 
suspect during an arrest or detention; or to defend any person from aggressive action by a 
suspect. 

18. City Charter, section 203; Municipal Code, sections 103.00-103.314, 

1 9. Gates v. Board of Police Commissioners, Order of May 13. 1991. at 42. 

20. Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1991 , p. A1 . 

21 . City Charter, sections 79(a), 200. 

22. City Charter, sections 199. 200. 

23. City Charter, section 80(a). 



222 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



Report of the Independent Commission 



24. Personnel Department Classification, Police Chief (Aug. 27. 1986). 

25. City Charter, sections 80(a), 202, 

26. Cal. Govt. Code, sections 3300-331 1 . 

27 Skeily v. State Personnel Board, 15 Cal. 3d 194, 21 5 (1975). 

28. City Charter, sections 202(1), 202(2), 

29. City Charter, sections 202(1 )-202(6). 

30. City Charter, sections 202(12), 202(13), The disciplinary system is described more* fmiu 
elsewhere in this Report. u " y 

31 . City Charter, sections 100-109. 

32. The decision to hold an open competition lies entirely in the discretion of the Civil Service 
Board, unless there are not enough promotional candidates to yield the minimum number of 
certifications required by the Charter. 

33. City Charter, section 107. 

34. Memorandum from the General Manager of the Personnel Department to the Board of Civil 
Service Commissioners (Aug. 13, 1986). See also Los Angeles Times, Aug. 29, 1983, Part 
II. p. 1 (reporting the conclusion of an advisory group to the Police Commission that the 
seniority rules should be amended because of the near impossibility of an outsider being 
selected for Police Chief). 

35. Personnel Dept. Rule 410(a). 

36. City Charter, sections 199, 202(1). 

37. City Charter, section 199, 

38. City Charter, sections 79(a), 202(3), 

39. City Charter, section 202(1 ). 

40. City Charter, section 202(7). 

41. City Charter, section 202(13), 

42. Skeily v. State Personnel Board, 15 Cal. 3d 194, 215 (1975). 

43. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code, section 1094.5 (appeals from administrative determinations). 

44. City Charter, section 79(a). 

45. 1 1 Ops. City Att'y 222, 226 (1939). 

46. See 4 McQuilfin on Municipal Corporations 12.248C, at 396 (3d ed. 1985). Of course, the 
Police Commission may exert pressure on the Chief through disciplinary action falling short 
of suspension or removal, such as a reprimand. Although Section 202 would not apply, the 
Commission may be constrained nevertheless by the Police Officer's Bill of Rights. That law 
entitles all police officers, including the Chief, to an administrative appeal from any "punitive 
action" by an employer, including a written reprimand. Cal. Govt. Code, sections 3303- 
3304. 

47. Cal. Govt. Code, sections 3203. 3302(a). 

48. The survey also found that the department heads of Los Angeles' Harbor, Public Works, and 
Recreation and Parks departments, as well as the DWP, claim not to have issued any 
endorsements in mayoral or council races. 



Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and the Chief Of Police 223 



Report of the Independent Commission 



49. The "rule of three" limited the number of candidates that could be certified as eligible for any 
civil service vacancy to three. The 1983 Charter amendment increased the number to a 
minimum of six by adopting what is commonly referred to as the "rule of three whole 
scores." City Charter, section 109. 

50. Los Angeles Times, Mar. 25, 1978, Part I, p. 1; Mar. 27, 1978, Part II, p. 8. 

51. Los Angeles Times. Mar. 25, 1978, Part I, p. 17; Mar. 29, 1978, Part II, p. 1. 

52. Los Angeles Times, Mar. 29, 1978, Part II, p. 1. 

53. Los Angeles Times, Mar. 27, 1978, Part II, p. 1. 

54. Los Angeles Ordinance Nos. 1 62,091 1 162,704 f Administrative Code sections 4.320 et seq. 
(1986). 

55. Los Angeles Ordinance No. 166,077, Administrative Code section 4.323.5 (1990). 

56. Minutes of the regular meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners, June 1 , 1982. 

57. City Charter, section 42(3), 

58. City Charter, section 42(2). 

59. See Ward v, Superior Court, 70 Cal. App. 3d 23, 32-36 (1977); Gates v. Board of Police 
Commissioners. 

60. Gates v. Board of Police Commissioners, Order of May 1 3, 1 991 , at 23-24. 

61 . See Gray v. Gustine, 224 Cal. App. 3d 621 , 631 (1990). 



224 Chapter 10: Structural Issues - the Police Commission 

and The Chief Of Police 



TABLE 10-1 (continued) 



- morr¥~Gn laboest cities is 0.1/ 

m «*m or mm oa^^sioma' 







Raooval Process 


Principal Powers 




IIO COtflmi as ion 






Boa ton. MA 


no commieslon 






Chicago, XL 


all appointed by mayor for staggered 5-year terms; 

city council approval required 


by mayor' 


makes pollcies/rulee ; conducts hearinga whsxa chief 
recommends significant disciplinary action* 


Cincinnati. OB 


no costal a a ion 






Columbua, OH 


no commiaaion 






Dallas, TX 


no commission 






Detroit, HI 


•11 appointed by mayor for etaggered 5-year terms; 
city council approval required 


by mayor without cause 
or council approval 


makes policies /rules with mayoral approval; typically 
inveatigete* minor complaints only, has subpoena power 


Houston, TX 


no c osculation 






Indianapolis, IH 


* appointed by mayor and 2 alactad by off tears; 
2 year tarns; city council approval not required 


by safaty dir. without 
eauaa or council approval 


nay ovarrula significant disciplinary action "f chief; 
•aparsts complaint raviaw procass 


Jacksonville, FL 


no c omission 






Los Angalea, CA 


•11 appointed by mayor for staggered 5-year tana*; 

city council approval raquirad 


by mayor with city council 
approval* 


brosd rule-making powar, decieiona subjact to voldanca 
by city council; no significant disciplinary tola 


Madison. WI 


•11 appolntad by mayor for ateggered 5-yaar terma, 

city council approval required 


by mayor* 


acts as civil ssrvica board; conducts disciplinary 
bearing upon initial cltison complaint or appeal by 
citis«n of departmental decision; no raal managerial 
or administrstlva rasponsibilitlas 


Memphis, TH 


no commission 







1 Bssad on 1990 Cansus data. This tabla also Includes Madison, Wisconsin. 

1 Tha information raf lactad in this tabla was racalvad vis phono calls to tha raspactlva cltia* and varif iad against municipal, and in soma cases stata 
atatutory authority. 

* Tha Chicago Municipal Coda atataa that mambara of tha Folic* Board «ra ramovabla by tha mayor "aa providad by law," (Chicago Municipal Coda I 2-64-020}, 
Tha city's legal affair a of flea was unable to provide Commission staff with statutory provisions sotting forth • rmsoval procsss for Folic* Board members, indicating 
that tha mayor* a powar to remove ha a not t scant ly baan challangad. Tha lag a I affalra of flea' a unofficial visw on this queation, ponding tha results of r**sarch 
which had not b*an complatad by th* drafting of this raport, mi that th* msyor amy ramov* m*mb*ra of tha Folic* Board without cause and without approval by tha City 
Council. 



* Sactions 13 and 73.1 of tha Los Angalas City Charter on removal of commissionsrs do not sp*c I f y wh*th*r rmsoval may only ba had for causa. 



* Section 62.13 of Wisconsin Statutes authorizing police and fir* commissions for citl«s in Madison's class does not provide for removal of commissionsrs. 
Legal counsel to th* Madison Police and Fir* Commission stated that th* removal procsss has n*v*r b**n addressed. Be further offsrsd his visw that ths ambiguities 
created by tb* abssnc* of statutory provision for removal may likely only ba resolved by litigation. 



TABLE 10-1 





Mayor 


City Managar/ 
Public Safaty 
Dlractor 


Folic* 
Commission 


W City 
Council 
Confirmation 


Tana 
(yaari) 


Mayor 


City Managar/ 
Public Safaty 
Dlractor 


Poiica 
Commission 


W City 
Council 
Confirmation 


Biltimota, HD 


X 






yaa 


6 


cauaa 






no 


Boston, MA 


X 






no 


5 


causa 






no 


Chicago, IL 


X 






yaa 


no 


without causa 

..... _ 






no 


Cincinnati, OH* 




X 




no 


no 




cauaa 




no 


fV»f iwihui OU 




X 




no 


no 




causa 




no 


Dallaa, TX 




X 




no 


1 




without cauaa 




no 


Detroit, MI 


X 






no 


no 


without cauaa 






no 


Bouiton, TX 


X 






yaa 


no 


without cauaa 






no 


Indianapolis, IH 




X 




no 


no 


without cauaa 






no 


Jacksonville, FL 


(aiaetad 


offlca) 




no 


* 


<by 


votars) 




no 


Lo* Angalaa, CA 






X 


no 


no 






causa 


no 


M«mphl*. TH 


X 






yaa 


no 


without cauaa 






no 


HilwtukH, MI 






X 


no 


7 






causa 


no 


Maw .ark. NY 


X 






no 


5 


without cauaa* 






no 


Philadelphia, PA 


X 






no 


no 


without cauaa 






no 


Phoenix, AX 




X 




no 


no 




without cauaa 




no 


San Antonio, TX 




X 




no 


no 




without causa 




no 


San Di*fO, CA 




X 




yaa 


no 




without causa 




no 


San PrancUco, CA 






X 


no 


no 






without csusa 


no 


San Joaa. CA 




X 




f* 


no 




without causa 




no 


Wathinatou, DC 


X 






yaa 


no 


without cauaa 






no 



1. Baa ad on 1999 Cansu* data. 

2. tha Information r*fl*ct*d in this tabla was rscsivad via phona calls to th* raspsctivs citi»s and varifiad against municipal. **d in soma casa* *t*t« statutory 
authority. 

3. Cincinnati has both a Safaty Dlractor and a City Managar, with aach having a roia in tha appoints, ant and raaoval procasa. Th. Safaty Diractor «***» » 
cscommandatton to th* City Managar for tha appointmant of a Chiaf. whoa* appolntmant ia not subjact to City Council confirmation. Tha CMaf fc J 5J: if tl 
is raaovahl* for cauaa only by tha Safaty Dlractor whoa* decision I* subjsct to tha approval of th* City Managar (Tha Safaty Director is saiact.a oy in* L.i, 
Managar who in turn la aalactad by tha City Council). 

*. Und.r tha Haw York City Chart*., tha polica commiasionar <chlaf> aarvaa for a tana of fiva y..r. sod Is rsmovsbl* by th* mayor or th* fovrnor "wh*n.var in th. 
judgmant of th* mayor or tha govarnor th* public intaraata ahall ao raqulra." Chap. 18. t *3I, Haw xork City Chsrtac 



r c it us tM o.s. 

i ty miff aatsaaK 



(Contimiad) 



Milw.ukaa, HI 


Appoints ant Procaas 


Rsmovai Procaas 


Principal Powara 


•11 «ppolnt*d by mayor Cor a tagsar ad *-yaar tint; 
city council approval rsqulrad 


by mayor* 


broad rula-maaint. powar, daciaiona aubjact to voidanca 
by ctwaaon council; conduct* haaringa whsra chlaf 
racoaaaanda algnif Leant disciplinary action or upon 
filing of a complaint by a cltitan 


Haw York. MY 


no canal ss ion 






PinUd.iphu. FA 


no cammi salon 






Fhoani*. AZ 


no cqubIiiIoo 






San Antonio. TX 


no commission 






Sim Di*so ( CA 


no count »a ion 






San Franciaco. CA 


all appoint ad fey mayot for *-yaat t a rata; 
board of auparvlaora approval not raq-ulrad' 


by Mayor without causa or 
board of auparviaora 

approval 


aata policy in conaultatlon with chlaf; ovarsigbt of 
cltixan complaint r avian body; conducts haarlngs wfaara 
chlaf raccKomanda significant dlacipllnary action or 
upon appaal 


San Jom, CA 


no caasai salon 






Waahin§ton DC. 


no coma! Baton 







* fraction 42 50 of Wiaconain Statutes author is in* tha fira and polica ccaaalaaioo doaa not provids for ramovai of comaiaa lonara Tha Eracutlv. 0 
Hllwaukaa Fira and Pol tea Ccwtaaion of farad hia vlaw that in tha abaanca of auch provision and as thia cjuaation baa not baan .ddraaaad, thm t anarai 
that tha mayor may ramova for causa only, with tha approval of tha C ommon Council raquirad, 

' Tha functional aquivalant to a city council for tha City and County of San Franciaco la tha San Franciaco Board of Suparvlaor* 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Chapter Eleven: 
Implementation 



This Report presents significant recommendations all across the 
spectrum of the operations and structure of the Los Angeles Police 
Department and related agencies. They are designed to address, from 
many perspectives, the grave problem of excessive use of force by a 
significant number of officers, as well as issues of racism and bias. 
These comprehensive and interdependent recommendations require 
immediate action. 

The Commission is unanimously committed to the attainment of the 
entire set of reforms. Full implementation, however, will require action 
by the Mayor, the City Council, the Police Commission, the Police 
Department, and ultimately the voters. Up to now, the people of this City 
have been deeply disappointed by the failure of our governmental 
bodies and political leaders to cooperate in addressing the problems 
considered in this Report, It has not been the finest hour for City 
government. We are fully cognizant of the need to restore the credibility 
of our governmental institutions and to promote, through these 



Chapter 1 1 ; Implementation 225 



Report of the independent Commission 



recommendations, the full restoration of community confidence in our 
Police Department, as well as our political institutions, Carrying out the 
recommendations in this Report is the first step, 

To encourage action on the recommendations, the following steps 
should be taken: 

1. The City Council should enact an ordinance paralleling the 
Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires the President to make a 
report to Congress with regard to certain reports within one year of their 
submission. In this vein, the City Council should require a report with 
regard to the implementation of this Report at six month intervals from 
each of the following entities: the Mayor, the Human Resources and 
Labor Relations Committee of the Los Angeles City Council, the Police 
Commission, and the Police Department Because the City Council has 
asserted a large measure of authority for the Police Department by its 
recent actions, it should at a minimum be prepared to enact an 
ordinance along these lines. Each of these entities should accept the 
discipline of considering the Report and indicating what actions have 
been taken to implement the applicable recommendations. 

2. Community organizations should accept responsibility for 
assessing the Report and seeking to carry out those recommendations 
that come within their ambit of responsibility. 

3. A committee of distinguished citizens should be organized to 
advocate and monitor enactment of the recommended reforms by the 
responsible entities, to consider initiative measures if those bodies do 
not act, and to support needed Charter amendments. 

4. The Commission should reconvene six months following its 
Report to assess the implementation of its recommendations and to 
report to the public. Key members of the existing Commission staff 
should continue to monitor the situation and assist the Commission 
when it reconvenes. In the meantime, the Commission will be available 
to explain the background of the recommendations to appropriate public 
bodies. 

5. From the outset, our Commission has said that its primary 
focus would be on structural and operational issues, rather than on an 
assessment of individual performance. We adhere to that view. 



226 Chapter 11: Implementation 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Although we have identified certain management problems in the LAPD 
and shortcomings in the oversight by the Police Commission, we have 
avoided personal criticism. In this implementation chapter, however, it is 
appropriate to address transitional issues in more specific terms. 

Chief of Police Daryl Gates has been a Los Angeles police officer for 
42 years, having risen through the ranks to his present position. He has 
achieved a noteworthy record of public service in a stressful and 
demanding profession. Under his leadership, the Department has 
maintained a national reputation for innovation, efficiency, and honesty. 
Chief Gates has already served 13 years as Chief of Police, three years 
longer than the maximum of two five-year terms that we have 
recommended for any future Chief. He told our Commission that having 
qualified for his maximum pension, it makes no sense from an economic 
standpoint to remain and that "probably I've stayed longer than I 
should." Next month he will turn 65, the age at which a transition in top 
leadership is traditional in many large enterprises. For reasons set forth 
in support of our recommendation that the Chief of Police be limited to 
two five-year terms, we believe that commencement of a transition in that 
office is now appropriate. We hope that Chief Gates will remain in office 
while his successor is being chosen, and we urge him to channel his 
energies during this period toward supporting and commencing the 
implementation of this Report's proposals. 

6. We also believe that the interests of harmony and healing 
would be served if the Police Commission is now reconstituted with 
members not identified with the recent controversy involving the Chief of 
Police. Without assessing individual performance, we believe that the 
attainment of the goals of the Report would be facilitated by making a 
fresh start at the Police Commission. The Mayor should nominate new 
members in light of our recommendations on the composition and 
expanded duties of that body. 

We close this chapter - and this Report - with comments on the 
general subject of leadership, whether it be past, present, or future. 

Setting priorities will be a major task of new leadership. If the 
leaders of the Department and the Police Commission give priority to 
stopping the use of excessive force and curbing racism and bias, they 



Chapter 1 1 ; Implementation 227 



Report of the Independent Commission 



can make it happen. But they have to go beyond the announcement of 
formal goals. Their leadership on these issues must be comprehensive 
and constant, not isolated or sporadic. They must make their weight felt 
throughout the system - from recruitment, through training, promotion, 
assignment, and discipline. More than any other factor, the attitude and 
actions of the LAPD's leadership and that of other City officials will 
determine whether the recommended reforms are achieved. 

To make genuine progress on issues relating to excessive force, 
racism, and bias, leadership must avoid sending mixed signals. If the 
leaders are careless in their comments or equivocal in their 
commitments, some rank-and-file officers may find encouragement for 
their misconduct. Leniency in discipline or easy forgiveness when 
making assignments or promotions will be misread as condoning 
improper practices. UCLA psychiatrist Dr. L. J. West stressed in his 
statement to the Commission that leaders should not tolerate failure in 
subordinates simply out of loyalty or a desire to be popular." The 
subject matter demands a high standard; there are no harmless errors. 

In his new book, Leadership, John W. Gardner stresses; 

One function that cannot be delegated is that of 
serving as symbol That the leader is a symbol is a 
fact, not a matter of choice. The task is to take 
appropriate account of that reality and to use it well 
in the service of the group's goals. 

In a quasi-military organization like a police force, the importance of 
symbolism is at its zenith. The task for the leadership of the LAPD is to 
recognize its symbolic role in dealing with the problems as identified in 
this Report, and bend its influence and energies to bringing the LAPD to 
a new level of excellence and esteem throughout the City. 



228 Chapter 11: Implementation 



Report of the Independent Commission 



APPENDIX I 



Mayor's Charge to the Independent Commission 
on the Los Angeles Police Department 



Joint Statement of Warren Christopher and 
Justice John Arguelles -- April 4, 1991 



The Ten-Point Plan Announced by 
Chief of Police Daryl Gates 



APPENDIX I 




CITY HALL 
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 9COI2 
-.213! 485-33H 



OFFICE OF THE MAYOR 



TOM BRADLEY 

MAYOR 



THE CHARGE 
BY 

MAYOR TOM BRADLEY 
TO 

THE SPECIAL INDEPENDENT COMMISSION 

TO 

REVIEW THE STRUCTURE AND OPERATION 

OF 

THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT , 
WITH THE COOPERATION AND ASSISTANCE OF THE 

LOS ANGELES DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE 



The Los Angeles Police Department is facing a crisis of 
confidence. It has become the focus of national attention. 
The District Attorney has brought indictments against four LAPD 
officers, including a supervising sergeant* We can expect a 
series of investigations from other governmental sources, 
including the U.S. Department of Justice, various Congressional 
committees, and other state and local agencies. The media 
interest is unprecedented. 

I remain confident in the ability and integrity of the 
large majority of men and women of LAPD who are out on the 
streets daily, doing the tough, dirty, and dangerous business 
of fighting crime. I intend to support our police department 
to the fullest. I was a police officer for twenty-one years, 
and I feel for the thousands of honorable men and women of the 
LAPD. They have watched helplessly in recent weeks as the 



"AN EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EMPLOYER " 

SecvctitJie and naae from recycwo 



Charge to the Special Independent Commission 
Page Two 
April 1, 1991 

LAPD's fine reputation has been damaged. My top priority is to 
restore the public's confidence in the cop on the street. 

Nonetheless, we all know — and the Rodney King beating has 
been a shocking and tragic reminder — that we have problems in 
the department. These problems can and must be corrected. 

The time has come for a reasoned , objective, thorough and 
constructive examination of the structure and operation of our 
Police Department. How can we improve it; how can we correct 
its faults; how can we increase its service, its efficiency, 
its fairness; how can we make it a model for the next century? 
All of us can unite in working toward this goal. We want the 
best possible Police Department, the finest in the nation. 
That has been our objective, and that is what we demand for the 
future . 

I am not willing to leave this inquiry to others. To that 
end, I am today appointing a special Independent Commission, to 
be chaired by Warren Christopher and charged with the 
responsibility of conducting a full and fair examination of the 
structure and operation of the LAPD. Because I want it to 
reflect the views of all those interested in the crucial issues 
it will examine, I have appointed seven members representing 
the widest possible spectrum of interests. They are: 

Warren Christopher, a former Deputy Attorney General and 
Deputy Secretary of State now serving as chairman of 
O'Melveny & Myers law firm, who also served as vice 
chairman of the McCone Commission that investigated the 
1965 Watts Riots; 

Roy Anderson, chairman emeritus, Lockheed Corporation and a 
member of the board of trustees of Stanford University; 

Leo F. Estrada, associate professor at the Graduate School 
of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA, who served as a 
principal advisor during the recent redistricting of the 
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' districts; 

Mickey Kantor, a partner of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips law 
firm since 1975, who is also a member of the Los Angeles 
Conservation Corps, California Commission on Campaign 
Financing, and the American Jewish Committee; 

Andrea Sheridan Ordin, a former United States Attorney and 

chief assistant Attorney General for the State of 

California, now chief of litigation at the Los Angeles law 
firm of Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz; 



Charge to the Special Independent Commission 
Page Three 
April 1, 1991 



John Slaughter, president of Occidental College and former 
chancellor for University of Maryland, College Park, who 
has been involved with a wide-range of organizations such 
as the President's Commission on the National Collegiate 
Athletic Association and San Diego Urban League? and 

Dr. Robert Tranquada, Dean of the University of Southern 
California School of Medicine* 

This is a citizens' commission of the highest order. The 
Commission will report to the Mayor, to the Police Commission 
and, most important of all, to the public. An initial report 
will be filed in 60 to 90 days. 

I expect that the quality of the Special Independent 
Commission's report will equal the quality of its membership. 
My hope is that it will recommend solutions that reflect a 
broad consensus and that will find broad acceptance throughout 
the entire community. 

The Commission's work will be primarily prospective, 
focusing on needed changes to the department's methods of 
selecting, training, promoting and disciplining its officers. 
The Special Commission will not adjudicate individual 
complaints. That is the job of the Police Commission, the 
Chief and the LAPD. The Special Independent Commission may, 
however, consider particular cases in order to determine the 
existence of a pattern, practice or general condition. The 
Commission will also consider recommendations for possible 
charter amendments, new laws and steps that the Mayor, the 
City Council, the Police Commission or the Chief should take. 
Among the particular areas the Special Independent Commission 
will review are: 

(1) The proper role, staffing and resources of the Police 
Commission; 

(2) The proper role of the Office of Chief of Police, with 
an examination of the desirability of new City Charter 
provisions governing the appointment, disciplining and 
removal of the chief; 

(3) Recruitment, promotion, training and supervisory 
practices in the Department and suggestions for 
improvements ; 

(4) The departmental disciplinary system, how it is 
working and what changes, if any, are needed; 

(5) The effectiveness of the present citizen-complaint 
system and of the current review process for such 
complaints; 



Charge to the Special Independent Commission 
Page Four 
April 1, 1991 



(6) The impact of current department practices and 
procedures upon the investigation and prosecution by 
the District Attorney of allegations concerning the 
use of excessive force? and 

(7) The level of departmental responsiveness to community 
concerns and related questions of departmental 
accountability . 

The Special Independent Commission's role will be separate 
and distinct from the ongoing role and responsibilities of the 
Police Commission. The Police Commission will continue to look 
retrospectively at the causes of the tragic Rodney King 
beating, the investigation of the beating, and the immediate 
steps that must be taken to prevent recurrences. 

The Special Independent Commission must have adequate, 
independent funding to perform its critical tasks. I will work 
with Chairman Christopher to ensure that adequate private funds 
are raised. 

The Commission must also have the power to determine the 
facts. The Special Independent Commission will draw its 
necessary legal authority from the powers delegated to the 
Mayor by the City Charter, including the Mayor's subpoena 
powers. The Police Commission has offered its full cooperation 
to the Special Independent Commission. 

Three prominent individuals have already agreed to serve as 
Senior Advisors to the Special Independent Commission. They 
are: 

Jesse Brewer, a 3 8 -year veteran of the Los Angeles Police 
Department who retired in February of this year after 
rising to the rank of Deputy Chief of Police; 

James Q. Wilson, a widely-published author on such subjects 
as crime, American government and politics and a professor 
at the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at 
UCLA, is considered one of the foremost experts on the 
challenges facing urban cities; and 

Patrick Murphy, a former police commissioner with both the 
cities of New York and Detroit and president of the Police 
Foundation from 1973 to 1985, now serves as a consultant 
with the United States Conference of Mayors on crime issues. 

Finally, I expect that the Special Commission will have a 
professional, independent staff. I have discussed that matter 
with Chairman Christopher, and the composition of the 
Commission staff will be announced shortly. 

### 



JOINT STATEMENT 
BY 

JUSTICE JOHN ARGUELLES AND WARREN CHRISTOPHER 



Retired Supreme Court Justice John Arguelles and Warren 
Christopher said today that they will merge their efforts to 
study a broad spectrum of issues relating to the Los Angeles 
Police Department. 

Justice Arguelles will become a member and Vice Chairman 
of the Independent Commission on the Police Department chaired by 
Christopher . 

Justice Arguelles and Christopher said that 
Willie Barnes, Esq., 59, former Commissioner of Corporations of 
the State of California, and Richard M. Mosk, Esq., 52, a former 
staff member of the Warren Commission and a former judge of the 
Iran-U.S . Claims Tribunal at The Hague, will also become members 
of the Independent Commission. They had initially been 
approached to serve by Justice Arguelles. 



James H. Z umber ge, recently retired USC President, who 
had agreed to serve with Justice Arguelles , is withdrawing from 
the Commission in order to keep the Commission to a reasonable 
size, and in light of the fact that Dr, Robert Tranquada , Dean of 
the USC School of Medicine, is already serving. 

Justice Arguelles and Christopher said that, "in order 
to maximize the Commission's contribution to the community, we 
must concentrate on making an objective and thorough study of the 
fundamental long-term issues without being drawn into the 
controversy over the tenure of Chief Gates." 

"We will proceed on a fully independent basis, with 
funding and staffing from private sources," Justice Arguelles and 
Christopher said. "Our operations will be fully integrated, so 
as to enable us to proceed with maximum efficiency and without 
wasteful duplication." 



Chief Gates' 10 Point Plan 

MARCH 27, 1991 

PRESS RELEASE 

THE AFTERMATH OF THE RODNEY KING INCIDENT HAS BEEN AN EXCEEDINGLY 
DIFFICULT AND TRYING TIME. FEELINGS OF BETRAYAL AND SHOCK HAVE 
BEEN EXPERIENCED BY BOTH COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT 
PERSONNEL. THERE IS NO DOUBT FROM ANY QUARTER THAT A NUMBER OF 
THOSE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN THE KING INCIDENT MUST BE, AND WILL 
BE, BROUGHT BEFORE THE BARS OF THE CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE 
JUSTICE. THERE IS UNANIMOUS CONSENSUS THAT THERE MUST BE A 
THOROUGH AND DILIGENT SEARCH FOR ANY UNDERLYING REASONS WHY THOSE 
OFFICERS ENGAGED IN SUCH LAWLESSNESS. WE MUST LOOK FOR ANY AND 
ALL CONDITIONS THAT MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF 
ATTITUDES AND PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR THAT COULD HAVE LED TO THIS 
KIND OF GROSS MISCONDUCT. WE MUST DETERMINE WHY SUCH INDICATORS, 
IF THEY DID EXIST, WERE NOT DETECTED. 



FLAWS THAT ARE FOUND IN ANY PART OF THE PROCESS THAT TRANSFORMS A 
CITIZEN INTO A POLICE OFFICER MUST BE CORRECTED. IMPROVED 
METHODS FOR INSTILLING IN OUR RECRUITS A REVERENCE FOR THE LAW 
AND A MORE COMPASSIONATE UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION FOR THE 
CULTURAL DIVERSITY OF THE RESIDENTS WE SERVE MUST BE DEVELOPED. 



THIS RESEARCH MUST BE CONDUCTED BY OBJECTIVE PERSONS WITH 
REQUISITE ABILITIES WHOSE PRIMARY CONCERN IS THE SAFETY AND THE 
BEST INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE OF LOS ANGELES AND THE POLICE 
OFFICERS WHO SERVE THEM. 

TO ACCOMPLISH THESE THINGS, I HAVE EXPANDED THE PLAN I SUBMITTED 
TO THE BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS IN CORRESPONDENCE DATED 
MARCH 14, 1991, AND HAVE DIRECTED THAT THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS BE 
TAKEN FORTHWITH: 

1. I HAVE ASKED RETIRED CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT 

JUSTICE JOHN ARGUELLES TO FORM AND TO CHAIR A FIVE 
MEMBER PANEL OF INDIVIDUALS REPRESENTING A CROSS 
SECTION OF VARIOUS PROFESSIONS. DOCTOR JAMES 
ZUMBERGE, RETIRING PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF 
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, HAS AGREED TO SIT WITH JUSTICE 
ARGUELLES AS A MEMBER OF THE PANEL . 

THIS PANEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE ARGUELLES PANEL, 
WILL STUDY THE DEPARTMENT'S TRAINING AND PROCEDURE 
AS THEY RELATE TO THE USE OF FORCE. THEY WILL THEN 
EXAMINE ACTUAL FIELD INCIDENTS IN WHICH EXCESSIVE 
FORCE WAS USED. PARTICULARLY CASES THAT HAVE BEEN 
LITIGATED IN COURT, TO DETERMINE IF AND HOW OUR 
TRAINING AND CONTROL SYSTEMS CAN BE IMPROVED. THE 



-2- 



OVERALL GOAL WILL BE TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OP 
INCIDENTS OF UNNECESSARY FORCE AND THE ATTENDANT 
LIABILITY SUFFERED BY THE CITY. 

COMMANDER MIKE BOSTIC HAS BEEN ASSIGNED TO MY STAFF 
TO EXAMINE OUR USE OF FORCE POLICIES, PROCEDURES 
AND TRAINING, AND COMPARE THEM AGAINST ANY 
COMMONALITIES DISCOVERED IN REVIEWING USE OF FORCE 
INCIDENTS AND EXCESSIVE FORCE COMPLAINTS. HE WILL 
REVIEW SIMILAR TRAINING CONDUCTED BY OTHER 
DEPARTMENTS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY LOOKING FOR 
IDEAS, IMPROVEMENTS AND INNOVATIONS. 

COMMANDER BOSTIC 'S WORK WILL MESH AND COMPLEMENT 
THE WORK OF THE ARGUELLES PANEL AND THE 
PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES BEING CONDUCTED BY THE 
DEPARTMENT'S BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES SECTION. 
COMMANDER BOSTIC WILL WORK CLOSELY WITH THE 
PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE { PAC ) . THE PAC IS 
A GROUP OF DISTINGUISHED COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO HAVE 
WORKED DILIGENTLY WITH TRAINING DIVISION STAFF AND 
WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR DESIGNING OUR HUMAN RELATIONS 
TRAINING AT THE POLICE ACADENY AS WELL AS OUR HUMAN 
RELATIONS HANDBOOK. COMMANDER BOSTIC WILL RELY 
HEAVILY ON THE ADVICE AND EXPERTISE OF THE PAC IN 



REVIEWING AND ANALYZING ISSUES INVOLVED IN USES OF 
FORCE AND HUMAN RELATIONS. 



PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE 



DR. ROSS CLAYTON, DEAN 

SCHOOL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION 

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 

GAIL ABARBANEL, DIRECTOR 
RAPE TREATMENT CENTER 
SANTA MONICA HOSPITAL 

HOMER F. BROOME, JR. 
MARVID ASSOCIATES, INC. 

DR. NATHANIEL JACKSON 

DEAN OF APPLIED ART DIVISION 

EL CAMINO COLLEGE 

ROBERT M. JONES 
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 

NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS 

DR. ERNEST R. KAMM, CHAIRMAN 
DEPT. OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE 

AND SAFETY STUDIES 
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, L. A. 

PROF. HARRY KITANO 
SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WELFARE 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT L.A. 

DR. DIEGO VIGIL 
DIRECTOR OF ETHNIC STUDIES 
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY 
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 

RICHARD A. WESTON 

MAJOR CLIENTS AGENCY, INC 



-4- 



3. COMMANDER RICK DINSE HAS BEEN ASSIGNED AS MY 

PERSONAL, FULL-TIME REPRESENTATIVE FOR BOTH THE 
CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATIONS . HE HAS 
BEEN OF GREAT ASSISTANCE TO ME BY KEEPING ME 
CURRENT ON BOTH INVESTIGATIONS AND FACILITATING THE 
COMMUNICATION OF MY INPUT AND INSIGHTS TO THOSE 
CONDUCTING THE INVESTIGATIONS. HE WILL ALSO ACT AS 
LIAISON BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT AND THOSE AGENCIES 
ASSIGNED THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CONDUCTING OFFICIAL 
INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE DEPARTMENT. MY TOP 
PRIORITY HAS BEEN AND CONTINUES TO BE ENSURING THAT 
JUSTICE IS DONE AND THE FOOTHILL INCIDENT IS 
THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED AND CULPABLE OFFICERS BE 
BROUGHT UP ON ALL APPROPRIATE CHARGES, WHETHER 
CRIMINAL, ADMINISTRATIVE, OR BOTH. 



4. UNDER THE DIRECTION OF DR. MARTIN REISER, THE 
DEPARTMENT'S CHIEF PSYCHOLOGIST, BEHAVIORAL 
SCIENCES SECTION WILL PROFILE THE OFFICERS INVOLVED 
IN THE FOOTHILL AREA INCIDENT AS WELL AS OFFICERS 
WHO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN COMPLAINTS OF EXCESSIVE 
FORCE OR CIVIL ACTION RESULTING IN AWARDS. THIS 
PROFILING WILL BE DONE IN AN EFFORT TO IDENTIFY ANY 
AND ALL CONDITIONS THAT MAY BE INDICATIVE OF 
ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR PATTERNS ON THE PART OF 



-5- 



OFFICERS WHICH ARE PREDICTIVE OF TENDENCIES TO USE 
INAPPROPRIATE LEVELS OF FORCE AND TREAT PEOPLE WITH 
LESS THAN AN APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF DIGNITY AND 
RESPECT. DR. REISER WILL WORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH 
COMMANDER BOSTIC IN AN EFFORT TO TIE IN THE RESULTS 
OF HIS WORK WITH THAT OF COMMANDER BOSTIC 'S GROUP 
IN ORDER TO CONDUCT AS THOROUGH AND IN-DEPTH AN 
ANALYSIS OF THESE TYPES OF SITUATIONS AS IS 
POSSIBLE. IDEALLY, THE ULTIMATE RESULT WILL BE THE 
SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION OF COMPLAINTS AND CIVIL 
LITIGATION ALLEGING EXCESSIVE FORCE. 

5. THE DEVELOPMENT OF A HIGH RANKING, COMMAND DUTY 
OFFICER PROGRAM IS UNDERWAY. IN THIS PROGRAM A 
COMMAND OFFICER WILL BE ASSIGNED DURING NIGHT AND 
MORNING WATCH HOURS TO OVERSEE AND INSPECT FIELD 
OPERATIONS. THE DATES, TIMES AND AREAS OF THEIR 
ASSIGNMENTS WILL VARY AND BE UNANNOUNCED. THIS 
PROGRAM WILL INCREASE THE NUMBER OF COMMAND 
OFFICERS IN THE FIELD AND INCREASE THE LIKELIHOOD 
OF AN OFFICER COMING IN CONTACT WITH A COMMAND 
OFFICER IN THE FIELD DURING NON-BUSINESS HOURS. IT 
SHOULD BE NOTED THAT 38 PERCENT OF THE DEPARTMENT'S 
FIELD FORCE HAS THREE YEARS OR LESS TENURE WITH OUR 
DEPARTMENT. COMMAND DUTY OFFICERS WILL TAKE 



-6- 



IMMEDIATE CONTROL AND MAKE ANY NECESSARY 
CORRECTIONS OVER FIELD SITUATIONS AS IS 
APPROPRIATE . 

I HAVE DIRECTED THAT INSPECTION AND CONTROL SECTION 
OF MY OFFICE TAKE ON A MORE ACTIVE POSTURE IN 
CONDUCTING INTENSIVE REVIEWS OF THE DEPARTMENT'S 
OPERATIONS BY FOCUSING PARTICULARLY ON THE DUTY 
PERFORMANCE OF OFFICERS IN THE FIELD. 

6. THE DEPARTMENT WILL STRENGTHEN ITS SYSTEM OF RANDOM 
MONITORING OF BOTH VOICE AND MOBILE DIGITAL 
TERMINAL COMMUNICATIONS TO DETECT AND FERRET OUT 
ANY UNPROFESSIONAL OR INAPPROPRIATE USE OF THE 
SYSTEM WHICH IS CURRENTLY PROHIBITED BY DEPARTMENT 
ORDER. WE WILL ALSO REINFORCE OUR EMPHASIS ON THE 
PROPER USE OF THESE SYSTEMS BY HOLDING VIOLATORS 
ACCOUNTABLE THROUGH THE SWIFT AND SURE APPLICATION 
OF DISCIPLINE. 

7. A HOT-LINE TELEPHONE NUMBER WILL BE OPERATIONAL 
EFFECTIVE FRIDAY AFTERNOON, MARCH 29, 1991. THIS 
HOT-LINE TELEPHONE NUMBER FROM AREA CODES 213 OR 
818 WILL BE (800) 339-6868. IT WILL BE STAFFED ON 
A 24-HOUR BASIS BY INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION 
PERSONNEL. 



-7- 



THIS HOT LINE WILL SERVE TWO PURPOSES. FIRST, IT 
MAY BE USED BY ANY COMMUNITY MEMBER TO REPORT 
COMPLAINTS OF EXCESSIVE FORCE. 

SECONDLY, THE HOT LINE IS AVAILABLE FOR USE BY ANY 
COMMUNITY MEMBER WITH A REQUEST FOR A DEPARTMENT 
REPRESENTATIVE TO APPEAR, DISCUSS AND LISTEN TO 
COMMUNITY CONCERNS. A DECENTRALIZED SPEAKERS' 
BUREAU WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH EACH AREA STATION 
PROVIDING OFFICERS TO FULFILL THIS FUNCTION. 
MEANINGFUL, FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION WITH 
COMMUNITY MEMBERS BY DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL IS 
CRUCIAL TO REESTABLISHING A BOND OF TRUST WITH THE 
COMMUNITY. 

8. I HAVE ASKED OUR PLANNING AND RESEARCH DIVISION TO 
ARRANGE FOR QUARTERLY OPINION SURVEYS IN EACH OF 
OUR 18 AREAS. THE PURPOSE OF THIS POLLING WILL BE 
TO AFFORD THE PUBLIC AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE US 
FEEDBACK ON THEIR OPINIONS AND PRIORITIES 
PERTAINING TO THE POLICE FUNCTION IN THEIR 
NEIGHBORHOODS. TO ACCOMPLISH THIS TASK, WE WILL 
SEEK VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE THROUGH A LOCAL 
UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE IN CONDUCTING SUCH POLLS. 



-8- 



9. I HAVE RENEWED DISCUSSIONS WITH THE FEDERAL 
GOVERNMENT TO COMMIT A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF 
RESOURCES TO IMPROVE THE TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE TO 
THE POLICE IN OUR NATION. WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH 
THE WISDOM OF PROVIDING THE STATE OF THE ART IN 
WEAPONS TO OUR MILITARY. I BELIEVE IT IS 
ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY TO MAKE A SIMILAR COMMITMENT 
TO PROVIDE MORE MODERN NON-LETHAL ALTERNATIVES TO 
SUPPLEMENT OR PERHAPS REPLACE THE CLUB AND THE 
PISTOL USED BY AMERICAN POLICE SINCE THE FOUNDING 
OF OUR COUNTRY. 

10. THIS DEPARTMENT WILL FULLY COOPERATE WITH ANY 
OFFICIAL GROUP WHICH HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED TO 
INVESTIGATE OR AUDIT DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS. 
ADJUSTMENTS AND MODIFICATIONS TO POLICIES, 
PROCEDURES AND TRAINING FOR ANY FACET OF THE 
DEPARTMENT'S OPERATION WILL BE MADE AS THE 
NECESSITY FOR SUCH ACTION BECOMES APPARENT. 

AS WE MOVE FORWARD ON A COURSE TO REESTABLISH COMMUNITY TRUST, 
THERE WILL OBVIOUSLY BE ADDITIONAL STEPS NECESSARY TO GUIDE US IN 
THAT JOURNEY. EACH AND EVERY NECESSARY STEP WILL BE TAKEN. AT 
THIS POINT IN TIME, THE TOP STAFF OF THIS DEPARTMENT MUST RETURN 
TO DEALING WITH THE MYRIAD OF DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES INHERENT IN 



-9- 




RUNNING THIS DEPARTMENT AND MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF KEEPING 
PEOPLE SAFE FROM CRIME , VIOLENCE , NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING AND 
DISRUPTIONS TO THE PEACE AND FREEDOM OF OUR COMMUNITY. OF 
PARTICULAR INTEREST TO ME, ARE THOSE POLICE-COMMUNITY 
PARTNERSHIPS WHICH HAVE BEEN FORMED OVER SEVERAL YEARS WHICH MUST 
BE ALLOWED TO GET BACK TO IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE 
THROUGHOUT THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES. 

INQUIRIES REGARDING THE INVESTIGATION OF THE FOOTHILL AREA 
INCIDENT SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO COMMANDER DINSE. INQUIRIES 
REGARDING THE PROGRESS OF THE REVIEW OF OUR USE OF FORCE 
TRAINING, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO COMMANDER 
BOSTIC ALL OTHER INQUIRIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE PRESS 
RELATIONS OFFICER OR HIS STAFF. 



-10- 



Report of the Independent Commission 



APPENDIX II 
Commission and Staff Activities 

1. TIME CONTRIBUTED 

• Attorneys serving as counsel to the Commission contributed more 
than 16,000 hours. 

• Accountants and Statistical Consultants contributed more than 9,000 
hours. 

2. EXECUTIVE SESSIONS 

• See list in accompanying Table 2A-1 for witnesses testifying in 
executive session 

3. PUBLIC HEARINGS 

• See list in accompanying Table 2A-2 for witnesses testifying in public 
hearings 

4. INTERVIEWS 

• Over 300 interviews with current and former LAPD officers 

• Over 75 interviews with present and former City, County and other 
government officials 

• Over 150 interviews with experts in the fields of policing, taw 
enforcement, psychiatry and medicine. 

• Over 65 interviews with community and religious leaders, 

• Over 50 interviews with government and police department officials 
from other cities and states 

• Over 25 interviews with LAPD civilian personnel 

• Over 20 interviews with members of the clergy. See list in 
accompanying Table 2A-3 

5. DOCUMENTS RECEIVED FROM LAPD 

• 1 ,240 personnel complaint investigative files for 1987-1990 

• Over 100,000 pages of computer-generated Mobile Digital Terminal 
(MDT) transcripts covering 182 days between November 1, 1989 and 
March 4, 1991 



APPENDIX II: Commission and Staff Activities 1 



Report of the Independent Commission 



• Over 700 personnel packages of police officers 

• IAD annual personnel complaint statistical reports for the period 
1982-1990 

• IAD Weekly Summaries of Adjudicated Complaints for the period 
1986-1990 

• Over 700 use of force reports involving jail personnel 

• 40 officer involved shooting files 

• Statistical data regarding the number, rank and deployment of 
women and minorities in the LAPD 

• 1990 Coveted Positions Report 

• Over 30 disability pension files and medical files 

• 83 City Attorney case files 

• LAPD K-9 Reports for 1988-1990 

• Studies and reports regarding women and minorities in the LAPD 

• LAPD Reports on 39th and Dalton 

• Various manuals including the LAPD Manual, Board of Rights 
Manual, FTO Manual, Background Investigator Manual, recruitment 
manuals, various Department memoranda, and memoranda of 
understanding 

• Materials concerning various programs including Operation Cul-de- 
sac, Operation Hammer, the Wellness Program, DARE, and the 
Footbeat Pilot Program 

• Promotional materials and all materials provided to recruits by LAPD 
and the City Personnel Department 

6. COMPUTER DATABASES OBTAINED FROM LAPD 

• Personnel complaints database containing 20,852 records from 
1986-1990 

• Use of force database containing 14,904 records from January 1987 
to March 1991 

• Officer information database containing 8,250 records 

• Officer-involved shooting database containing 825 records from 
1986-1991 

• K-9 database containing 6,509 records from 1988-1990 



2 APPENDIX II: Commission and Staff Activities 



Report of the Independent Commission 



7. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PUBLIC 

• Received and reviewed over 8,000 letters sent by members of the 
public to the LAPD and forwarded to the Independent Commission 
by Chief Gates. 

• Received and reviewed over 200 letters from members of the public. 

• Conducted approximately 100 telephonic interviews with individuals 
who phoned the Commission offices to comment on the LAPD. 



APPENDIX II: Commission and Staff Activities 3 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Table 2A-1 
List of Witnesses 
Independent Commission - Executive Sessions 

LAPD Personnel 

Michael Bostic, Commander, LAPD 

Jesse Brewer, Former Assistant Chief, LAPD 

Jan Carlson, Captain, LAPD Internal Affairs 

James Chambers, Commander, LAPD Personnel & Training Bureau 

Ann Clark, LAPD Patrolman III (former training officer) 

Robert Contreras, Detective, La Ley 

Henderson Cooper, Detective, LAPD (former training officer) 

Carlo Cudio, Commander, LAPD, Former Head of LAPD Personnel Division 

Senator Ed Davis, Former Chief, LAPD 

Rick Dinse, Commander, LAPD 

Lyman Doster, LAPD Lt. II, President, Association of Black Law Enforcement 

Executives 
David Dotson, Assistant Chief, LAPD 
Daryl Gates, Chief, LAPD 

Dr. Robin Green, LAPD, Behavioral Science Services Section 
Mitchell Grobeson, former LAPD officer 

Garland Hardeman, LAPD Officer, Director, Oscar Joel Bryant Association 
John Hunter, LAPD Detective 

Kyle Jackson, Watch Commander, LAPD Wilshire Patrol Division 

Paul Kim, Lieutenant, LAPD Wilshire Division 

Tim King, Captain, LAPD Personnel Department 

Mark Kroeker, Deputy Chief, LAPD Personnel & Training Bureau 

Art Lopez, Commander, LAPD Training 

Maurice Moore, Commander, LAPD 

Fred Nichols, Captain, Training Expert - LAPD Academy 

Emilio Perez, Sergeant, La Ley 

William Rathburn, Chief, Dallas Police 

and former Deputy Chief, LAPD 

Tom Reddin, Former Chief, LAPD 

Robert W. Riley, Captain, LAPD 



APPENDIX II: Witnesses - Executive Sessions 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Albert Ruvalcaba, Sergeant, La Ley 
Robert Vernon, Assistant Chief, LAPD 

Police Commission Personnel 

Dan Garcia, former Police Commissioner 
Robert Talcott, former Police Commissioner 
Reva Tooley, former Police Commissioner 
Sam Williams, Police Commissioner 

City and County Officials 

Sherman Block, Sheriff, LA County 
Tom Bradley, Mayor 

Jack Driscoll, General Manager, Personnel Department 

James Hahn, City Attorney 

Curt Livesay, Chief Deputy District Attorney 

Ira Reiner, District Attorney 

Jack White, Chief of District Attorney Investigators 

Community and Organizational Leaders 

Rev. Rafael J. Aragon, Presbyterian Church U.S.A. 
Tom Barham, Police Misconduct Referral Service 

Rt Rev. Frederick H, Borsch, Bishop - Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles 

Johnny Cochran, Police Misconduct Referral Service 

George Denny, Police Misconduct Referral Service 

Karol Heppe, Police Misconduct Referral Service 

Katherine Spillar, National Coordinator, Fund for the Feminist Majority 

Rabbi Lennard R. Thai, Union of American Hebrew Congregations 

Carol Watson, Police Misconduct Referral Service 

Experts 

Michael Armstrong, Esq., Counsel to Knapp Commission 
Joann Belknap, Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, University of 
Cincinnati 

Lee Brown, Commissioner, New York Police Department 



APPENDIX II: Witnesses - Executive Sessions 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Ernest Curtsinger, Chief of Police, St. Petersburg, FL 

Patrick Murphy, Former Commissioner, New York Police Department, now with 

National Conference of Mayors, Washington, D.C. 
Professor Lawrence Sherman, President, Crime Control Institute 
Dr. Louis J. West, Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine 
Hubert Williams, Current President of Police Foundation, Former Chief of Police 

of Newark, New Jersey 
James Q. Wilson, UCLA Professor of Sociology and Chairman of the Board of 

Police Foundation 



APPENDIX II: Witnesses - Executive Sessions 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Table 2A-2 

List of Witnesses - Independent Commission 
Public Sessions 

Dora Alicia Alarcon, President, Street Vendors Association 

Lt. George Aliano, President Los Angeles Police Protective League 

Vibiana Andrade, Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense & 

Education Fund (MALDEF) 
Christopher Armen, Esq. 

Danny Bakewell, President & CEO, Brotherhood Crusade 

Quincy Beaver, California Democratic Counsel & Committee for Justice and a 

Civilian Review Board 
Al Belmontez, Director, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) 
Gil Benjamin, Member of the Executive Board of Directors Granada Hills 

Chamber of Commerce 
Humberto Bernabe, Southern California Organizing Committee 
Linda Brewer, Mothers and Daughters Against Drug Abuse (MADD) 
T. S. Chung, Korean American Coalition 

Alan Clayton, Civil Rights Director for California League of United Latin 
American Citizens 

Roger Coggan, Esq., Director, Legal Services, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian 

Community Services Center 
Ronald Coleman, Southern California Civil Rights Coalition 
Lewis A. Custrini, Vice President - Communications, Merchants & Manufacturer 

Association 

Michael Davis, Office of Representative Maxine Waters, Member of Congress 
Jose DeSosa, President, NAACP San Fernando Valley Branch 
Joseph Duff, President, Local Chapter NAACP 
Howard Ekerling, Esq., U\PD Reserve Officer 

Peggy Estrada, President, Citizens in Support of the Chief Strategy Center 

Marvin Feldman, Past Chairman, LAPD Blue Ribbon Support Coalition 

Ezola Foster, Pesident, Black Americans for Family Values 

E. Jean Gary, Esq., President, Black Women's Lawyers 

Goeffrey Taylor Gibbs, Esq., Board Member, John M. Langston Bar Association 



APPENDIX II: Witnesses - Public Sessions 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Dermot Givens, President, Black Law Students Association, University of West 

Los Angeles School of Law 
Jorge Gonzalez, Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) 
Karol Heppe, Esq., Executive Director, Police Misconduct Referral Service 
Mary Lou Holte, Townkeepers Community Watch, Van Nuys 
Anne Kamsvaag, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles 
Kate Kincaid, Labor Community Strategy Center 
Stewart Kwoh, Esq., Executive Director, Asian Pacific Legal Center 
Bill Lann Lee, Esq., Western Regional Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund 
Elsa Leyva, Mexican American Bar Association 
Guadalupe Lorea, President, Committee for Peace in the Barrio 
Jose Lozano, Publisher, La Opinion 

Pastor James V. Lyles, President, San Fernando Valley Ministers Fellowship 
David Lynn, Police Misconduct Lawyer Referral Service 
John Mack, President, Los Angeles Urban League 
Eric Mann, Labor Community Strategy Center 

Michael A. McClure, Field Director, Youth Advocacy Program, Hollenbeck 
Youth Center 

Father David O'Connell, Southern California Organizing Committee 

Patrick Patterson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund 

R. Samuel Paz, Esq., Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) 

Margaret Prescod, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders 

Lea Purwin-D'Agostino, Esq M Citizens in Support of the Chief of Police 

Patrick Ramsey, Labor Community Strategy Center 

Ramona Ripston, Executive Director, ACLU Foundation 

William Robertson, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO Public Employees Union 

Antonio Rodriguez, Esq., East Los Angeles Police Abuse Complaint Center 

Professor Gloria Romero, Member, Hispanic Advisory Council to the Los 

Angeles Police Commission 
Eric Rose, Citizens in Support of the Chief of Police (CISCOP) 
Lou Santillan, President, El Sereno Community Coordinating Council 
Lacy Shabazz, Malcolm X Grass Roots Committee 
Arthur Silber, Esq., President, Lawyers for Human Rights 
Gerri Silva, Equal Rights Congress 



APPENDIX I!: - Public Sessions 



Report of the independent Commission 



Troy B. Smith, Attorney, Greater Watts Justice Center, Legal Aid Foundation of 
Los Angeles 

Katherine Spillar, National Coordinator, Fund for the Feminist Majority 
Vicki Tamoush, Chair, Network Against Hate Crimes 
Vincent Tolliver, African Black Students Statewide Alliance 
Juan Venegas 

Donna J. Wade, Co-Chair, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Police Advisory Task 
Force 

Pearl E. White, Coordinator, Oakwood Owners & Tenants Association 
Steve White, Esq., Founder, A Place For Us 
Michael Woo, Member, Los Angeles City Council 
Jo Ann Wysocki, President, Wilmington Homeowners 
Michael Zinzun, Coalition Against Police Abuse 



APPENDIX II: Witnesses - Public Sessions 



Report of the Independent Commission 



Table 2A-3 

List of Attendees - Independent Commission 
Meetings with Clergy 



Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., Dolores Mission Catholic Church 

Rev. J. Jon Bruno, St. Athanasius and St. Paul Episcopal Churches 

Fr. Charles D. Burns, SVD, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church 

Dr. Ignacio Castuera, Hollywood United Methodist Church 

Rev. James Conn, United Methodist Church 

Rev. Frederick W. Cook, Westchester United Methodist Church 

Rev. Kathleen Cullinane, St. Mary's Church 

Rev. John A. Dean, St. Paul's Episcopal Church 

Rev. David K. Farley, Echo Park United Methodist Church 

Rev. Janet Gaston-Petty, Wilshire United Methodist Church 

Rabbi Laura Geller, Director, American Jewish Congress 

Rev. Spencer C. Gibbs, First Presbyterian Church 

Rev. Joseph L Griffin, Good Shepherd Baptist Church 

Rev. Allan Jones, Wilshire United Methodist Church 

Rev. Philip J. Lance, St. Athanasius & St. Paul Episcopal Churches 

Rev. K. Samuel Lee, Los Angeles Korean United Methodist Church 

Rev. Connor Lynn, St. Mary 

Fr. David O'Connell, St. Francis X. Cabrini Catholic Church 
Fr. Dennis O'Neill, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church 
Rev. A. Kenneth J. Phillips, St. Phillips Episcopal Church 
Fr. John Seymour, ST, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church 
Rev. Alan Scarfe, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church 
Pastor Albert Starr, Ascension Lutheran Church 



APPENDIX II: List of Clergy 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 



The Independent Commission is grateful for the support and 
contributions of the following institutions and companies: 



Grant 

Weingart Foundation 



Fiscal Agent 

Claremont University Center 



Office Space 

Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. 



Printer 

R.R. Donnelley Financial International Printing Services 



Public Meeting Space 

Los Angeles Unified School District 
Woodrow Wilson High School 
MacClay Junior High School 
Francis Parkman Junior High School 

Tishman West Companies (Security Pacific Plaza) 
Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company 



Meeting Space: Clergy 

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church 
St. John Episcopal Church 



Press Conference Facility 

Sheraton Grande Hotel 



Copying Services 

Pitney Bowes Management Services 
Landmark Professional Support Services, Inc.